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NEWS | July 29, 2008

Team Charleston, do your part: conserve energy

By Trisha Schmalz 437th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

It's hot outside, and most Charleston AFB residents are probably running their air conditioners on a continuous basis.

However, during this time of year, it's important to remember to conserve energy at work and at home whenever possible.

On days when Charleston is expected to experience a combination of high temperatures and high humidity, the 437th Civil Engineer Squadron will issue an energy "alert" advisory through e-mails via the base's direct messenger. These advisories ask facilities and individuals to comply with the recommended actions to conserve energy so the base doesn't exceed its maximum electric demand. Advisories can be issued for one day or three days, it just depends upon the weather forecast.

"Here at Charleston AFB we have a contract peak of energy usage at 14,800 kilowatts and a minimum of 11,840 kilowatts," said Jeff Morgan, 437 CES base energy manager. "We try to stay in between the minimum and the maximum."

If the base exceeds the 14,800 kilowatts, the electric utility company will tack on a surcharge penalty to the monthly bill for every kilowatt above the maximum usage, said Mr. Morgan. The surcharge penalties can vary because there is no set price.

Energy conservation is important no matter where people work or live. The Environmental Protection Agency says 71.5 percent of electricity in the U.S. is generated from nonrenewable resources such as oil, gas and coal.

According to the EPA, in the U.S., the average family will generate more than 11,200 pounds of air pollutants each year just from energy use. Therefore, every kilowatt of electricity conserved will reduce the environmental impact of energy use.

The 437 CES asks that everyone on base follow these recommended actions during the alert periods:
· Do not use big, electricity-consuming shop equipment when work schedules permit.
· Set air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
· Turn off all office equipment such as printers, copiers and televisions when not in use.
· Do not use electric yard equipment such as electric lawnmowers, weed eaters and blowers.
· Do not operate home appliances such as washers, dryers or vacuum cleaners.
· Minimize lighting in offices, shops and homes; turn off nonessential lighting.

The 437 CES says the periodic shutdown of air conditioning units and chillers at selected base industrial and administrative facilities may occur during the alert period.

Charleston AFB is already going to great lengths to conserve energy and has been recognized for its hard work.

Earlier this year, Team Charleston was recognized as one of the three best performing Air Force bases for 2007 in terms of reduced energy intensity by the Reducing Energy Appreciation Program.

For more tips on how to conserve energy, visit the EPA at