Kadena's conservation efforts net federal award |
by Staff Sgt. Jason Lake
18th Wing Public Affairs
9/13/2010 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan (AFNS) -- For the second consecutive year, civil engineers here have been awarded a federal energy and water management award for their aggressive conservation efforts on Okinawa.
In 2009, the 718th Civil Engineer Squadron was honored for having one of the best 2008 energy efficiency and energy programs within governmental agencies worldwide. This year, units within the 18th Civil Engineer Group were rewarded for their efforts to improve water efficiency that saved an estimated $1.9 million in 2009.
"Kadena's selection as a two-time winner of a federal energy management program not only reflects highly on our energy management team, but is a great reflection of the seriousness with which our mission areas and military family housing residents take our conservation efforts," said Col. Brian Duffy, the 18th Civil Engineer Group commander.
The 718th CES, which operates the largest in-house maintenance program in the Department of Defense, installed more than 300 new, energy efficient washing machines in 17 dormitories and 12 billeting facilities island-wide, saving Kadena Air Base an estimated 5.1 million gallons of water annually. The unit also installed water efficient shower heads, toilets and aerators in 1,350 dorm rooms that are projected to save Kadena AB 19.3 million gallons of water annually.
So why is saving water a big deal for place completely surrounded by water? There are two reasons.
First, Executive Order 13423, "Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management," mandates a two percent reduction of water consumption intensity each year, or a 16 percent total by 2015, compared against a 2007 baseline. Two years into the mandate, Kadena AB has managed to reduce consumption by 14.9 percent, which is 93 percent of that goal, with five years to spare.
Second, despite being completely surrounded by water, Okinawa's drinkable water is limited. Most of the island's fresh water supply is collected by reservoirs filled by seasonal rainfall.
"It's very expensive to convert salt water to drinkable water," said Tech. Sgt. Juan Aguilarmunoz, the 18th CES operations NCO in charge of water and fuel systems maintenance. "We only have a limited amount of fresh water, and the less we spend on water, the more we can spend on things we need for the base."
Sergeant Aguilarmunoz's unit saved more than 116 million gallons of water and an estimated $1.3 million by replacing old pipes, pump stations, and installing new water meters and pressure reducing valves.
The federal energy and water management awards were started in 1981 by the Department of Energy and the Federal Interagency Policy Committee.
More than 90 individuals and governmental agencies worldwide ranging from the Fish and Wildlife Service to the Environmental Protection Agency competed for awards this year, said Amanda Sahl, the spokesperson for the award program.
Kadena AB will be among more than 30 individuals and government organizations formally recognized during an awards banquet in Washington, in October.