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Dept. of Energy lauds AF for conservation efforts

(U.S. Air Force graphic/Corey Parrish)

(U.S. Air Force graphic/Corey Parrish)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Air Force's innovative ideas and procedures for saving facility energy and aviation fuel have earned it recognition by the Department of Energy.

Each year, the DOE presents a Federal Energy Management Program award to individuals and organizations within the federal government that significantly contribute to the efficient use of energy and water resources.

The Air Force has won six FEMP awards. Winners include Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., Yokota Air Base, Japan; Dyess Air Force Base, Texas; and three individuals: Lawrence Johnson, Minot Air Force Base, N.D.; Capt. Reid Touchberry, Misawa Air Base, Japan; and Elizabeth Toftemark, Scott AFB.

Combined efforts by these winners helped the Air Force save more than $155.7 million and 42 million gallons of jet fuel.

"Energy is critical to the Air Force's ability to achieve ourmission to fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace," said Dr. Kevin Geiss, deputy assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Energy. "These men and women are a great example of what each Airman can do to help the Air Force maintain an assured energy advantage."

Program winners

AMC successfully implemented a mission index flying optimization tool. The software gives pilots the most energy-efficient altitude and speed based on atmospheric conditions. AMC also secured funding for the KC-135 engine upgrade and KC-10 drag clean-up fuel efficiency initiatives. These three initiatives, officials said, are projected to save the Department of Defense $284 million over the next 10 years.

Yokota AB led an Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century solution for the repair of the military family housing high temperature-hot water network, which became the benchmark for more than 1,000 systems throughout the Air Force. Another Yokota AB project involved conducting an aerial thermal imaging survey of the base to detect steam leaks that waste both energy and water. The survey pinpointed 47 leaks and created repair projects estimated to reduce consumption by more than 200 gallons of fuel per day.

Project winner

The energy team at Dyess AFB completed eight significant energy initiatives in fiscal year 2011 to reduce energy intensity, save money and improve infrastructure. The team installed ceramic bead coatings on 63,000 square feet of roofs and walls to reflect solar radiation and installed 2,600 occupancy sensors in 84 facilities that use sound and motion to control the lights.

The team also entered into a demand reduction agreement with the local utility for the base to use generators when possible to reduce the load on the Texas power grid.

Individual winners

Touchberry, Misawa energy manager, developed a plan to operate the base with limited electrical power availability following an earthquake and tsunami. He used GeoBase earthquake response maps to track deployment of generator assets and develop alternative refueling methods after significant refueling port compromise. Touchberry organized personnel into a team he dubbed "Rolling Blackout," which toured the base on bicycles promoting energy conservation and identifying energy-saving opportunities.

At Minot AFB, Johnson has helped change the way the Air Force designs and uses ground source heat pump technology. Realizing the void in the appropriate useof GSHP technology, over the past decade, he has successfully implemented GSHP systems for 25 buildings and has designed an additional six systems awaiting funding.

Toftemark, utility engineer and energy manager at Scott AFB, successfully negotiated electrical contracts over the past two years that will save the Air Force $5.5 million. She helped implement energy-saving projects such as heating, cooling, lighting and window upgrades that will save $4 million over the life of the projects. Through her efforts, the base library now has a reflective "cool" roof and 55 skylights which reduced the electrical usage 30 percent at the facility. Toftemark also created an energy awareness campaign. She placed stickers in the shape of pennies on devices throughout the base that ed the cost of energy per device per hour.

Air Force Civil Engineer Maj. Gen. Timothy Byers encourages all Airmen to do their part. "Our country is in a new energy paradigm, and we can no longer use energy at will without regard to the consequences," Byers said. "We must make a commitment, plain and simple, to rethink the way we use and view energy. The Air Force units and installations honored by DOE exemplify this new mindset. I encourage others to follow their lead."

A ceremony for all the winners is slated for October in Washington.

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