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‘Tis the season to save energy & resources: Team Randolph members can make the holiday season greener

By David DeKunder | Wingspread staff writer | Dec. 18, 2007

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — While the holiday season is a time for giving, it can be a season of savings and less waste for Team Randolph members who conserve energy and recycle. 

Base energy and recycling officials have several suggestions as to how Team Randolph personnel can save energy and do more while wasting less at home and in the workplace. 

Anthony Martinez, 12th Civil Engineering Division base energy manager, said base members can cut down on their energy costs during the holidays by starting with their thermostat. 

"In the winter there are easy savings to be had by properly setting your thermostat," Mr. Martinez said. 

The recommended setting for a thermostat during the winter is 68 degrees. If a household sets their thermostat at 68, it is projected they can reduce their utility bill by as much as six percent. If possible, lower thermostat settings to 55 at night because homes can save three percent for every degree the thermostat is lowered. 

Mr. Martinez said some utility companies, like CPS, give rebates to people who replace old manual thermostats with more efficient programmable ones. 

When decorating for the holiday season, Mr. Martinez recommends that people use light emitting diode (LED) holiday lights instead of the standard incandescent filament C7 lights, or "mini-lights." 

"LED lights last 10 times longer than filament lights do," Mr. Martinez said. "LED lights use 90 percent less electricity than regular lights." 

An LED C7 multicolor bulb uses 0.08 watts of electricity compared to 0.48 watts for an incandescent mini-light and six watts for a standard incandescent light C7 bulb, and they have a long lifespan usage of 100,000 hours or more. 

Household energy bills usually increase during the holiday season because people are indoors more and use their lights longer. 

Mr. Martinez said households can save more money by replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, which can reduce electric costs by 77 percent.
"A fluorescent bulb can save you $67 on energy costs during the bulb's lifetime," he said. 

Based on a 15-watt usage, a compact fluorescent bulb can run for 4,000 hours compared to an incandescent bulb, which has an average life usage of 600 hours.
There are other common-sense things people can do to save even more energy and money, Mr. Martinez said. 

One is to cut off lights in rooms or areas that are not being used; second, when going on vacation, unplug appliances such as microwaves, DVDs and computers because they are using energy when their timers or clocks are on. Third, unplug refrigerators that are not being used to store food during the winter. Fourth, if possible, cut off power strips when leaving for vacation. 

Base members should check to see if there are any potential defects in the insulation or weather-stripping at home or in the workplace so the problems can fixed, Mr. Martinez said. 

Mr. Martinez said base program and office managers can do their part to make sure Team Randolph is a more energy-efficient place during the holiday season. 

Since base work schedules will be changing because of the holidays, Mr. Martinez said unit and program managers should contact the Energy Management Control office so they can adjust the heating and cooling systems to be more efficient. 

"If offices shut down or have less manpower during the holidays, managers need to inform the Energy Management Control office so that they can set the proper A/C and heating temperatures," he said. "This will help us cut down on energy usage and costs."
When it comes to recycling during the holiday season, Stella Rodriguez, Randolph Recycling Program contract manager, said base members should reuse paper or other reusable items whenever possible. 

"Instead of going out and buying more wrapping paper, reuse your old wrapping paper for gifts and use scrap material for making gift ribbons," she said. "Also, consider giving people a gift card instead of a present so you do not have to wrap up any gifts." 

Conrad Dziewulski, Randolph Recycling Program manager, said base members can help out the environment even when they are shipping a gift to a family member or friend. 

"When shipping a gift use shredded paper from home for the packaging material," he said. 

Mr. Dziewulski said newspaper can be used to wrap gifts as well from using the sports pages for sports gifts to using the comic section for children's gifts. 

With the holiday season comes a large amount of cans and bottles used at parties on and off base. 

Ms. Rodriguez said when it comes to holiday office and retirement parties, bigger is better. 

"For parties, buy products in bulk such as snack food or in larger containers such as beverages," she said. "By buying in bulk or larger containers, it reduces the amount people have to recycle." 

"They will not have to go shopping as often and it reduces the amount of time they have to travel and use gas," Mr. Dziewulski said. 

Mr. Dziewulski said the base recycling program, which can be reached at 652-1160, will be able to provide extra recycling bins to organizations on base which need them to put the large amounts of aluminum cans or plastic bottles they use at the holiday parties. 

Mr. Dziewulski said any household items people do not use any more should be given to the Airman's Attic, Goodwill or the Salvation Army instead of throwing them away. 

During and after the holiday season, the base recycling center will accept small tabletop electronic equipment such as microwaves, computers, monitors, TVs or radios or office furniture that base members do not have any use for any more. The center will have a technology recycling firm come out and take the "e-waste" equipment, who will recycle both the products and precious metals from them. 

Leftover food can also be given to those in need, Ms. Rodriguez said. 

"Give that food to local pantries, food banks or thrift stores," she said. 

Mr. Dziewulski said base members can come by the recycling center during the holiday season to recycle any plastics, glass, cardboard and paper they have. 

The Randolph recycling center will operate within its regular business hours, from 6:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Monday through Friday, except on Christmas Day and New Year's Day. 

The recycling center has bins where people can drop off plastics, paper, aluminum cans and cardboard 24 hours a day. 

For more information on energy-saving ideas contact the 12th CED Energy Management Office at 652-5205, and for questions on recycling call the base recycling center at 652-1160.