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October 18, 2013

Remember to turn it off; October is Energy Action Month

Gabrielle Kuholski
Staff Writer

While October is Energy Action Month, energy conservation is a year-round Army goal. When it comes to energy conservation on Fort Huachuca, the goal is to become a net zero installation in energy water and waste by 2025

The work to become net zero in energy has already started according to Bill Hill, garrison energy manager. He said improvements are being made in how the installation handles energy as it comes in.

“We’re replacing a lot of evaporative cooling systems with the gas-driven heat pumps and that’s going to save us energy in the long run and it’s also going to save a lot of water,” Hill said. “Using the gas-driven heat pump, or if we use a ground source heat pump where it’s possible, we save a lot of energy over putting in regular electric refrigerate cooling systems or regular air conditioning systems.”

To monitor energy from the inside, each building, is required to have an energy monitoring device per organization as part of the Building Energy Monitoring Program. For a facility under construction, an energy-saving apparatus is placed in the building in addition to other conservation materials.

“Whenever we go in and remodel a building, we actually put in extra insulation in the walls and in the ceiling space below the roof or the roof itself is made out of insulated materials,” Hill explained.

In the construction of new buildings, renewable energy or energy conservation measures are implemented to ensure energy savings. These measures follow Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED silver standards. LEED’s rating system ensures facility design, construction, operation and maintenance are environmentally responsible.

“We want to save as much energy as we can because it reduces how much money the maintenance we have to pay out for energy and of course that gives us more money to use for our facilities for building them and repairing them,” Hill said.

Energy conservation doesn’t stop at installation buildings. Hill mentioned a solar panel array is planned for fiscal year 2014. The 20 mega watt array will be located near Kelsay Avenue and Brainard Road.

Another way Fort Huachuca plans to implement further energy-saving policies is through the Garrison Energy Steering Committee, which is made up of commanders and directors on post who follow through with these policies.

While energy conservation is an installation-wide effort, saving energy begins with the individual. Hill said there are three important words all personnel should remember not just during Energy Action Month, but all year—“turn it off.”

“We find that the biggest problem we have with energy conservation is people just forget to turn off the lights when they leave their offices,” Hill said. “You can turn [lights] off for 10 seconds and save energy, so the big emphasis that we have is to turn it off and especially at night.”

He added that the phrase applies to computers and other electrical appliances in offices and in break rooms—with the exception of refrigerators.

“We’re in a habit, we think we have a lot of energy and if we could just remember turn it off, those three words, that would save more energy than probably all of our controls,” Hill said.




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