Health & Safety

May 24, 2012

New fitness center uses energy efficiently

By Senior Airman Jack Sanders
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Cook, 99th Force Support Squadron specialist, adjusts a guide rope in the Nellis Air Force Base Fitness Center pool Mar. 17, 2012. The base pool uses energy from solar panels to heat the water helping to keep the building energy efficient.

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The new Nellis Air Force Base Fitness Center is leading the way in planned energy efficiency.

The $25M fitness center was funded by an Enhanced Use Lease with the city of North Las Vegas and is designed to save money using multiple energy efficient features.

“We’ve been open for just over a month now, and we’re averaging close to 1,700 people a day,” said Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Cook, 99th Force Support Squadron specialist.

The large crowds visiting the facility may not notice the building has subtle energy efficient features like timed lighting or solar powered water heaters. However, that’s not to say patrons won’t notice other, more visible, additions to the facility.

“The windows are probably the most noticeable feature that you can see with the human eye,” Cook said. “They’re actually designed to reflect the sun and direct that energy away from the building.”

The windows design allows light into the facility, while redirecting the additional heat normal windows would allow in the building.

“It helps keep the building cool during the summers, and that helps keep cooling cost down some,” Cook said.

While the facility is redirecting some of the sun’s light one way, it also takes the opportunity to absorb it in another.

“The water heater gets part of its energy from solar panels,” Cook said. “In fact, a lot of our water heating abilities come from solar energies.”

Utilizing solar panels for water heating means the facility minimizes its need for burning natural gas.

“The lighting is another way the building is energy efficient,” Cook said. “In about 80 percent of our rooms, throughout the building, the lights act on a timer, like a motion sensor timer.”

Using a timer sensor on lighting cuts down excess energy usage for the facility; however, there is a drawback to using sensory lights.

“Sometimes when we’re sitting quietly in the office for a period of time, and no one comes in or out, they’ll shut off on us,” Cook said laughing.

Cook said it is a slight problem he doesn’t see happen in active areas of the fitness center.

“Different rooms have different lengths of time; for example, our closets,” Cook said. “We’ll go into our closets and usually you’re not in the closet for too long, so those (timers) only last about three to five minutes.”

Larger and more active rooms in the facility have longer light timers.

Even with the occasional lighting hiccup, Cook said the fitness center is a place he is proud to work in.

“I like the place,” Cook said. “It’s huge, it’s very high tech, and it makes our job a lot easier — in my opinion. Come check us out and you’ll be impressed. I guarantee it.”




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