News>AFCENT officials increase energy efficiency in deployed locations
Brian Jarvis and Robert DeRuyter check instrumentation hooked up to a chiller Sept. 29, 2011, at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. Jarvis is trying to determine at what level of use the air conditioning units will run most efficiently. Jarvis is the U.S. Air Forces Central Command energy manager, and DeRuyter is an air conditioning service technician assigned to the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Gary J. Rihn)
Brian Jarvis and Robert DeRuyter inspect an environmental control unit used to cool transient personnel tents Sept. 29, 2011, at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. Jarvis is exploring the possibility of being able to reduce the number of ECUs by one third simply by making the remaining units run more efficiently. Jarvis is the U.S. Air Forces Central Command energy manager, and DeRuyter is an air conditioning service technician assigned to the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Gary J. Rihn)
by Senior Airman Patrick McKenna
Air Forces Central Command Public Affairs
10/3/2011 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Initiatives to save energy are not just limited to bases in the United States. In deployed locations, saving energy is a top priority, as well.
"The air component makes up a large part of the overall (Department of Defense) energy consumption bill, so we must look at every opportunity to be smart about our use rates," said Lt. Gen. David Goldfein, the U.S. Air Forces Central Command commander. "It is a delicate balance to optimize support to the battlefield while ensuring we are always good stewards of our nations finite resources. Our innovative Airmen and civilians continue to find ways to strike this balance every day as we take the fight to the enemy."
Throughout their area of responsibility, AFCENT members are concentrating on an energy strategy that emphasizes the importance of reducing demand, increasing supply and encouraging a culture of energy conservation.
"As a first step, we hired the first-ever AFCENT energy manager, Brian Jarvis, who's focused on establishing a theater energy program," said Capt. Shamekia Toliver, the chief of the AFCENT Installations Directorate operations division. "The command is proactively supporting the secretary of defense and Headquarters Air Force initiatives to incorporate operational energy into our overall engineering program."
Jarvis, whose background is in mechanical engineering, arrived in March and immediately began assessing AFCENT facilities to see how they could become more energy efficient. Considering he was the first energy manager for the command, he said he had to start by compiling baseline data sets and create analyses tools to identify and target wasteful systems.
"Overall, my role is that of an investigator," Jarvis said. "In this role, I look at the performance of system operations and compare that performance against other more energy efficient scenarios. My goal is to save energy without any negative impact to the mission."
According to Jarvis, once the baseline data is gathered, he identifies projects or makes recommendations for improving energy efficiency of existing infrastructure. This strategy also helps to save money in the long run.
"We look to reduce the dollar cost of unnecessary energy expenditures," Jarvis said. "In that pursuit, the first goal is to gather utility cost data. The second goal is to identify and target the largest consumers of energy. The third goal is to develop projects that will reduce energy demand, and the fourth goal that must be considered is project execution."
Two recent success stories for the AFCENT energy program revolve around new lighting technology and improving efficiency of air conditioning units. In Afghanistan, new lighting technology for use on lighting towers can provide an annual savings of 55,000 gallons of diesel fuel. Another initiative has a direct effect on operational energy; operation and maintenance of the environmental control units that control the temperature within billeting tents. Adjusting the refrigeration components of these units can reduce the number of units required to cool a tent by as much as 33 percent.
While Jarvis has only been on the job since March, the AFCENT energy program has made strides and has given Airmen downrange the means and information to make changes at their locations.
"The AFCENT energy program is starting off strong and is aligned under the operations division, AFCENT Installations Directorate," Toliver said. "The operations division conducts weekly telephone conferences and hosts several functional community of practice websites where engineers are able to discuss all issues including those related to energy."
One of the initiatives the staff is currently working is an energy awareness design review tool for the Air Force engineers in the AOR, officials said. The energy awareness design review tool is intended to provide engineers alternative design options and ideas to incorporate in the project scope of work and designs. This initiative falls in line with the Air Force Civil Engineer's energy pillars of building leaner installations.
"As we approach October, the deployed Air Force engineers have been armed with information in support of National Energy Awareness Month," Toliver said. "The intent of this awareness initiative is to arm Air Force engineers with information to assist with changing the energy consumption culture at their installations and to assist Airmen in making smarter energy usage decisions."