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Daily workouts 'light' way to energy savings at aircraft shelters

By Robert Goetz | Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs | Oct. 15, 2014

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — A 12th Operations Support Squadron simulator instructor's observations during his daily triathlon training at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph could lead to aircraft shelter lighting efficiencies with the potential of saving the Air Force some $9,000 per year.

David Bernacki, 12th OSS lead Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals weapons system civilian simulator instructor, noticed in June that the 12th Flying Training Wing's aircraft shelters on both flightlines were sometimes illuminated during daylight hours, which he believed was not an efficient use of resources.

He collected data at 25 shelters for more than two months as an initial step in the Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century process, an eight-step approach to identify waste, focus activities on eliminating it and maximize resources to satisfy other requirements.

"I knew of the AFSO21 process, so I started gathering data the last few days of June and through July and August," Bernacki said. "I was concerned about the energy usage, and AFSO21 is a good process to address that."

The process of collecting data involved counting all the lights that were still turned on during the day, Bernacki said. Starting at the Rambler Fitness Center, he would run, bike or drive his vehicle past the shelters, which included four used for T-38C depot maintenance, on weekdays and weekends.

Bernacki learned the 12th FTW spent $12,747 for aircraft shelter lighting in 2014, which he determined was $5,555 more than the amount if all lights were turned off during the day.

He also estimated that 10 percent of shelter lights are illuminated during daylight hours on weekdays and 20 percent of lights remain on most of the day on weekends. In addition, the annual bulb and ballast replacement cost is $3,500, or 50 percent greater than required.

During his data-collection effort, Bernacki was chosen by the 12th OSS to attend the AFSO21 green belt course July 28-Aug. 1. The green belt is the first level of AFSO21 certification.

To complete his green belt certification, Bernacki served as facilitator for an AFSO21 Continuous Process Improvement event Sept. 22-24 dedicated to brainstorming remedies for excess energy usage at the shelters.

Players at AFSO21 CPI events include a "process owner," who leads an organization or group; a "champion," who has the authority to dedicate resources, assets and people to an initiative; and a team consisting of a lead, facilitator and other members.

Last month's AFSO21 CPI event featured process owner David Long, 12th FTW Aircraft Maintenance Division chief, and champions Robert West, 12th FTW director of maintenance, and Robert Hamm, 12th FTW deputy director of maintenance, as well as Bernacki's AFSO21 black belt mentor, Daniel Woolever, AETC Airman Professional Program manager.

Woolever said Bernacki skillfully conducted the AFSO21 event, identifying a potential process improvement and bringing together a team to work this opportunity.

"During his event, Mr. Bernacki facilitated a cross-functional team to help them find ways to reduce aircraft flightline shelter lighting usage on JBSA-Randolph," he said. "The team found root causes to the problem and then provided solutions to decrease lighting energy consumption with savings of nearly $9,000 per year."

Bernacki said the team developed three action plans; implementation is already underway.

"The first is to design visual controls that explain to what position each light switch will be set to," he said. "The second is to develop an operating instruction to standardize when and how to use the lights, and the third is to research state-of-the-art energy efficiency solutions for a complete automated lighting system."

Woolever commended Bernacki's efforts.

"The Air Force wants every Airman to be innovators and problem solvers, to seek for problems and opportunities of improvement," he said. "Mr. Bernacki did just that."