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Home : News : News
NEWS | April 26, 2010

Lowering energy bill starts with each Airman, civilian worker, building manager

By Sean Bowlin 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs OL-B

Airmen, civilians and building managers on Randolph Air Force Base can do a lot to lower the costs of an expensive annual base energy price tag.

"Air Education and Training Command spends about $110 million per year on energy," said Garland Scott, the command's energy manager. "Randolph and Lackland Air Force Bases make up 23 percent of that energy bill."

Slashing the size of that tab begins by implementing energy-saving "best practices" at work, added Bruce Nadler, an AETC energy manager.

"You can start by turning off your monitor and its peripherals at the end of your duty day," Mr. Nadler said.

Other computer-related ways to save energy are to have PCs configured to enter the lowest possible power setting when not in use. It's also important to turn off printers, copiers, scanners, fax machines and other equipment at the duty day's end, as equipment warrantees allow.

Turning off all unnecessary interior and exterior lighting and flipping switches to "off" for lighting not required for security or operations between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. are other ways to conserve energy and reduce its associated costs, Mr. Nadler said. This includes at facilities, equipment yards, parking lots, street lights and sports fields. Lights remaining on should be the minimum necessary to meet safety and security needs, he added. Applicable lighting should be controlled with occupancy and motion sensors, or timers. Indoor night-lighting should be eliminated and incandescent lamps should be replaced with compact fluorescent lamps everywhere practicable.

"Also, in hangars, when lamps in high-bay lights reach 80 percent of their useful life, replace them by group re-lamping to economize on equipment and labor costs," Mr. Nadler said.

In fact, he added, general area lighting in work areas should be minimized and task lighting should be incorporated as necessary. When unoccupied, lights should be turned off in offices, conference rooms, break rooms and bathrooms, even for short time periods. In work spaces where personal refrigerators, coffee makers and microwaves are kept, they should be consolidated into common break areas instead.

At work, judicious use of heat should take place, Mr. Nadler said. Space heaters are prohibited unless required for valid safety or health reasons and hot water should be provided to sinks only when required by health standards and building codes. Set and maintain domestic hot water temperatures for 120 degrees.

With heating and cooling buildings, during the heating season administrative spaces should be set at 68 degrees; during cooling season, they should be set at 78 degrees.
Another way to reduce energy costs is to schedule tasks and operation of equipment to minimize utility demand costs. As much work load as possible should be done during non-peak hours.

For building maintenance, Mr. Nadler said it's important for building managers to identify areas needing caulking and sealing. Weather stripping around doors and windows needs to be checked; broken glass must be replaced and vertical shafts need sealing. Doors and windows need to be repaired to operate properly and automatic door closers need to be adjusted.

Finally, it's also important to adjust workplace cultures and attitudes about lowering energy costs.

"We need to have the mindset of making energy costs a consideration in all we do," Mr. Nadler emphasized.