LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. — If one Airman runs an 18-watt compact fluorescent light bulb for one hour, it costs approximately five cents.
If the estimated 10,000 civilian employees and military members at Langley Air Force Base, Va., were to run one 18-watt CFL bulb for one hour simultaneously, it could cost roughly $500.
October is energy action month, which promotes energy and water conservation awareness to Airmen as part of a national campaign lead by the Department of Energy. This year’s theme, ‘I am Air Force Energy,’ makes Airmen the heart of the campaign.
“In 2011, the Air Force spent $9.7 billion on fuel and electricity – more than twice what we spent 10 years ago,” said Lt. Col. Dee Jay Katzer, 633rd Civil Engineer Squadron commander. “Fuel and electricity now make up almost 10 percent of the Air Force’s budget, and every dollar we don’t spend on energy allows us to invest that dollar into you, your family and your mission.”
Throughout the month, Airmen are challenged to make a commitment to a continuous change in organizational and personal energy use. Awareness is good, but action is better. Airmen must create a culture where energy consideration is in everything they do, every day, on and off duty.
“Our Airmen are innovators. They have identified new policies, processes and technologies to improve the ways we use energy,” said Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley. “We will look to their continued creativity and focus on energy to obtain an assured energy advantage in air, space and cyberspace.”
Maj. Gen. Timothy Byers, Civil Engineer, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., recommends taking a proactive approach to energy conservation in an edition of CEnterline, stating A-C-T-I-O-N is key.
How Airmen can take action now in their everyday lives:
A – Appliance reduction. Around the office and at home, seek out Energy Star-qualified multifunction devices that provide multiple capabilities (print, scan, copy). This not only saves energy but also space.
C – Computer log-off. Even though we cannot turn off our computers at the end of the work day due to updates, we can log-off. This ensures the computers will go into sleep mode properly. The team of Information Technology Power Management for the Air Force estimates this action alone can save more than $10 million a year.
T – Temperature set points. Most bases use approximately 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer. Rather than using space heaters or fans, everyone should dress appropriately for the facility’s temperature.
I – Inform you facility manager. Report leaky faucets, blocked air vents, cracked windows and/or any other problems to your facility manager or CE customer service.
O – Outdoor conservation. Report instances like parking-lot lights left on during the day, or a broken sprinkler head dripping water to CE customer service. Corrective actions indoors and outdoors around base can have a huge impact on energy and water conservation goals.
N – No waste. Do not turn a blind eye. Take action. If you see a problem, report it. If you see something that does not need to be on, turn it off.
“If money is not coming directly out of your pocket, most times you are not as aware to how much it costs,” said Airman 1st Class Thomas Anderson, 633rd Comptroller Squadron financial management technician.
When conserving energy resources, our nation can enjoy cleaner air and a healthier environment. We can also help protect the climate by reducing greenhouse gases, gases in an atmosphere that absorb and emit radiation within the thermal infrared range.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2008, Americans avoided greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 29 million cars through choices made with energy-saving measures.
Each Airman is challenged to take action by reducing demand, increasing supply and making culture changes. It starts with one individual to make a change.
“Our Airmen are the most powerful change agents the Air Force has to achieve our energy objectives,” Katzer said. “Through their day-to-day activities and choices they are having an impact on the Air Force’s efforts to maximize funds for operational needs and improve mission effectiveness.”