RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
In proclaiming October as National Energy Awareness Month, Brig. Gen. Leonard Patrick, 502nd Air Base Wing commander, urges all Randolph team members, residents and tenants "to take steps to conserve energy and develop responsible habits that will reduce energy consumption in their everyday lives."
One of the base's biggest projects to fulfill its commitment to a more secure energy future, representing an investment of more than $8 million by the Air Force, is well on its way to completion.
A system of centralized water chillers, thermal energy storage tanks and more than two miles of chilled-water lines, which is designed to reduce air-conditioning costs in the base's commercial sector, should be finished within the next two years.
Anthony Martinez, 902nd Civil Engineer Squadron energy program manager, said air conditioning accounts for about 65 percent of the base's total energy bill, so reducing those costs is an important strategy in Randolph's energy conservation program.
"Chillers are the means by which water is cooled to create air-conditioned space," he said. "While this is the most effective way to do this, energy usage by these units can be costly."
Mr. Martinez said three strategically placed chilled water plants will allow for the "elimination of independent chillers that can be costly to run." TES tanks store water refrigerated at chillers for distribution to facilities in the vicinity via underground lines.
The Bldg. 991 chiller and TES unit are already serving Air Education and Training Command facilities and other buildings on the south side of the base.
Work on the eastern segment of the system's loop of chilled-water lines, which runs east from the Bldg. 991 chiller along J Street, north along Fifth Street East to the Bldg. 395 chiller and a planned TES tank and west to the Taj Mahal, should be completed by the end of the year. Most of it, including a portion from Bldg. 395 to the Taj Mahal, is already finished.
"When complete, this project alone will account for a reduction close to 1.5 megawatts," Mr. Martinez said.
Construction of another TES tank will begin this year at the Bldg. 498 chiller plant to serve the western part of the base, including Air Force Personnel Center facilities and hangars on the west flightline, a project that should account for more than 500 kilowatts of energy reduction.
Mr. Martinez said energy leadership at Randolph and Joint Base San Antonio is also asking the base community to contribute to a "cultural change" in the wise use of energy.
"The Randolph community is to do their part with items such as adhering to temperature standards of 76 to 78 degrees in the summer and 68 to 70 in the winter, reducing excessive use of small appliances in the office and shutting off lighting when not in use," he said. "The intent is not to eliminate comfort in the work area, but to use these types of items prudently and definitely turn them off when not in use."
Mr. Martinez said projects throughout JBSA in the next few years will further conservation efforts.
"Collectively over the next several years, JBSA will be aggressively accomplishing many millions of dollars in projects, leading the way in Air Force energy conservation and cost reduction," he said.