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AF energy leader touts Airmen success stories

WASHINGTON (AFNS) --

The Air Force’s top energy expert said people are the key to success in driving down energy use, saving money and improving mission performance during the Air Force Association’s monthly breakfast in Arlington, Va., Oct 23.

Dr. Kevin Geiss, the deputy assistant secretary of energy, touted Airmen success stories as proof of the service’s commitment and success with energy management, highlighting the services 21 Federal Energy Management Program awards in the last four years.

In 2012, six Air Force winners helped the service save $150 million and 43 million gallons of jet fuel, he said. In 2013, the service saved $18.6 million in energy.

“These savings are shining examples of the leadership and innovation of our Airmen,” Geiss said.

Geiss connected stories to the Air Force’s energy strategic priorities, centered on improving resiliency, reducing demand, assuring supply and fostering an energy aware culture.

Improving Resiliency

Geiss defined energy as an enabler of Air Force core national defense missions, and ensures the service is able to bounce back quickly if access to energy is comprised.

In the aftermath of the Japan tsunami in March of 2011, Misawa Air Base’s power was knocked out. Geiss told the story of Capt. Reid Touchberry, the base’s energy manager, who deployed generator assets to keep the base running.  

In the in the ensuing weeks, Touchberry helped transition the base to a new normal level of operations, which will save the base approximately one million dollars a year.

Reduce Demand

The 22nd Operations Group Fuel Efficiency Division at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., won a 2013 FEMP award for making fuel management of the KC-135 Stratotanker more efficient.

This saved the Air Force $4.3 million, while at the same time increasing sorties by 42 percent.

“They proved it’s a false choice to say we can either get the mission done, or we can save energy, because these folks did both,” Geiss said.

Assure Supply

The Air Combat Command facility energy team reduced energy consumption by 5.9 percent across their installations, according to Geiss. This reduced carbon emissions by 60,000 tons and saved more than $6 million within ACC.

In addition, they awarded 39 energy projects and installed energy meters, allowing them to set measureable goals for under-performing facilities.

Fostering an energy aware culture

“This is the responsibility of all of our Airmen,” Geiss said.  He went on to say it’s mentoring, sharing and passing on tools and approaches that will help the Air Force reduce energy.”

He highlighted Kelly Jaramillo, a 2013 FEMP award winner from United States Air Forces in Europe who engaged with military families through training and education. Her efforts resulted in a 25 percent reduction in electricity usage at bases in USAFE, and a 17 percent reduction in natural gas consumption.

As the Air Force recognizes October as Energy Action month, Airmen and family members are encouraged to continue practicing ways to reduce energy use.

For more information on the Air Force’s energy programs, visit http://www.safie.hq.af.mil/energy/ 

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