Fan installation to reduce energy use Published Nov. 3, 2009 By Senior Airman Kali L. Gradishar 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany (AFNS) -- The installation of 121 fans in 29 buildings across base is expected to reduce energy use and cost of heating systems operation during colder months. The project, which has a maximum cost of approximately $86,000, is estimated to have a payback time of slightly more than 8 months and save the base more than $1 million over 10 years, according to Christian Thurner, 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron environmental engineer. The project received funds from the Air Force Productivity Enhancing Program as a Fast Payback Capital Investment, or FASCAP project, meaning the investment was less than $250,000 and had a payback time of less than two years. For the initial research for the project, two data recorders measuring temperature and humidity were placed in a building, one toward the ceiling and one in the work area. "There was a big temperature difference between the two," Mr. Thurner said. "The ceiling temperatures were much higher, so the idea came to bring the warm air down." Which is exactly what the ceiling fans are expected to do. Instead of the warm air escaping through the un-insulated ceilings, the fans should push the warm air down to the work area. "We have huge halls where we use too much energy and we have a big potential to do better," Mr. Thurner said. "If estimates are correct, we can save 10 percent of energy, but it's definitely possible to save more here. "On one hand, there's money savings, but there are savings for the environment, too. It's a win-win solution to save money and be good to the environment." The plan to reduce energy consumption is part of Executive Order 13423, which focuses on setting goals for improving environmental, energy and economic performance. The goal of leaders at Spangdahlem is to reduce energy usage to three percent annually per square foot of floor area through the end of fiscal 2015 starting from fiscal 2003, according to Spangdahlem Air Base Instruction 32-7331, Wing Energy Conservation Program. "This project is just one helpful tool to potentially reach that goal," Mr. Thurner said. "We are going in the right direction of filling (the executive order)." Once the bidding process is complete the ceiling fans will be installed in the designated buildings along with one temperature monitor near the ceiling and one near the work centers. Once the temperature near the ceiling becomes notably higher, the fans will kick on. Mr. Thurner said he hopes the installation will occur before the holidays to take advantage of the savings this winter. Along with saving energy, Spangdahlem officials also are doing "our best to reduce air emissions," Mr. Thurner said. With the reduced oil consumption after the installation of the fans, the levels of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen compounds, carbon monoxide and fine dust are expected to decrease. "Anybody can make a difference by shutting windows, switching off lights and shutting doors. It makes a big difference. It helps save the government money and it helps the environment," he said.