RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
At Randolph, bills for electricity and natural gas total $6 million per year, but organizations on base are already working to alleviate the effects of summer heat on energy consumption and costs.
Individual Team Randolph members can do their part as well, by adopting strategies outlined by Col. Richard Clark, 12th Flying Training Wing commander, in a memorandum to the wing earlier this year.
The memorandum was issued in response to a presidential order requiring federal agencies to reduce energy consumption three percent annually for fiscal years 2005-2015 and outlines the base's strategy for energy conservation.
"I need your support to meet two major energy conservation initiatives," he said. "Through this fiscal year, we need to reduce our energy consumption by six percent."
Additionally, Randolph faces another challenge because utilities will be funded for only 11 months this year, meaning the base will have to achieve savings through reduction of consumption to cover the 12th month.
Organizations and individuals on base are heeding Colonel Clark's call to meet the challenges of the initiatives.
One of the organizations that plays a major role in achieving the base's energy conservation goals is the 12th Civil Engineering Division Operations Flight's Energy Monitoring Controls Systems team. The team regulates building space temperatures throughout the cooling and heating seasons.
"The bulk of energy use at any installation is in the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system," said Francis Dinh, base utility engineer. "EMCS monitors and controls usage of that system throughout the base. Without them we'd have a lot steeper hill to climb in terms of energy conservation."
One of the key components of EMCS' effort to reduce consumption is its Load Shed Program.
"That's a very important program," Mr. Dinh said. "If the team sees we're putting too much stress on City Public Service's grid, they can automatically start minimizing some of the loads across the base. This greatly reduces Randolph's utility bill."
Software selects high energy users on base, which leads to the shutdown of certain equipment, usually for a brief period of time. By reducing the load, Randolph can avoid paying a year-long maximum penalty for peak energy usage, also referred to as peak energy demand usage.
Because many of Randolph's buildings are old, energy efficiency is a challenge. Some of the hangars have been converted to administrative use, and erecting walls within the structures affects HVAC airflow, causing variations in temperatures, said Mr. Dinh.
Steps that CE takes to address these variations include maintenance of HVAC equipment, redirecting airflow and optimizing temperature settings. Mr. Dinh said the base's electricians and plumbers also make significant contributions to energy and water conservation.
Electricians install advanced meters that monitor up-to-the-minute use of electricity. They have also removed non-essential exterior lights throughout the base. Base plumbers have installed automatic water meter reading systems that operate by remote and allow them to identify leaks more quickly.
The 12th Communications Squadron also contributes to energy conservation on a daily basis by turning off all desktop computers at midnight Monday through Thursday and on Saturday. This results in an annual savings of approximately $140,000, Mr. Dinh said.
Each member of Team Randolph can take steps to reduce the base's energy consumption as outlined in Colonel Clark's initiatives by:
· turning off all monitors at the end of each workday
· reducing the number of personal use refrigerators by 10 percent
· prohibiting the use of all personal space heaters
In the future, the construction of buildings on base will be designed for energy efficiency and will help conservation efforts even more, said Mr. Dinh.
One example is the new base exchange that is currently in the design stages and will be built on the north side of the base.
"The new BX will submit an application to be LEED-certified," Mr. Dinh said. "It will show that we have an energy-efficient design."
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a rating system that is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance buildings.
As for the present, all of the combined efforts Team Randolph personnel will ensure the energy conservation goals of the base will be met and exceeded, ensuring good practices for the future.