Health & Safety

July 27, 2012

Conserving energy on base a team effort

By Michael Roach
Editor, Rocketeer II

Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake’s Command requests participation of employees to conserve energy onboard the installation. Individuals can have a huge impact by taking simple actions.

Shutting down work computers and related accessories such as printers at the end of the day or turning off lights when leaving a room are effortless ways in which base employees can help NAWS save more than a million dollars per year on its electric bill.

According to Resource Efficiency Manager Tim Carroll, Utilities Management Branch, Naval Facilities and Engineering Command Southwest China Lake, the typical computer costs an estimated three and a half cents an hour to run. If it is run continuously for an entire year, the total cost would be just over $300 per computer. With approximately 2,500 computers onboard the installation, the total cost is $769,000 per year. Roughly 75 percent of that amount, almost $577,000, can be saved by taking the time to switch off a computer at the end of the work day.

“Newer computers today use less energy and typically have energy saving features. If the features are properly set, then the energy use will be much less. However, it makes sense to turn it off at night, weekends and when they won’t be used for extended hours. Rebooting a computer every day is a healthy thing for the computer,” said Carroll, who added that Commander, Navy Region Southwest Instruction (COMNAVREGWINST) 4101.1A requires equipment and computers to be shut down when not used for extended periods of time.

“At night, if your machine is on, you are pulling power,” said Dennis (Mac) McCoy, N6/ACTR. “So, at night, by turning your machine off, you are saving the Navy money.  NMCI machines  turn themselves back on if they are pushing a software load . There is really not much you can do about this, as most of the software is pushed at night. So, if you shut down at night, and your machine is on in the morning, that is why. You should do this at home, too. Say you are going to work; you should turn your machines off, everything except your appliances, if you can. It doesn’t hurt the computer at all. People get complacent because it is easier to just jump back online and turn your monitor on. But, if you are gone for eight or 12 hours a day, you actually run up your electric bill. And, if you are leaving for vacation and the weekend, turn off the power strips also as they they draw power even if the computers are off. Try this for a couple of months and watch your electric bill go down.”

“The best energy management includes shutting down computers, monitors, dedicated printers and speakers in work spaces at the close of business and when staff leaves the work station for any significant period,” said Carroll. “Activate sleep mode on all office equipment, including CPUs, monitors copiers and printers. Turn off common copiers and printers at the close of business unless there is a bona fide operation necessary to keep them on.”

Employees can have an additional impact on energy conservation by simply turning off lights when they leave a room. The typical lighting systems in a small office might cost three and one-third cents per hour which amounts to 50 cents per night if they are left on. For 2,500 offices onboard China Lake, that is a waste of $500,000 annually, according to Carroll.

“The point is that a little waste multiplied by many times ends up being a large waste [and] cost,” said Carroll. “Each day before leaving the office, after saving your data and closing all programs, use ‘Start-Shut Down’ and select the ‘Shut Down’ option.”

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