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Charleston leads AMC in conserving energy

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Melissa White
  • 437th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
According to recent reports from Air Mobility Command officials, Charleston AFB is currently leading the way for reduction in energy consumption in AMC.

Mandated by federal Executive Order 13423, the Air Force and all federal agencies are required to reduce energy consumption annually by 3 percent for electric and 2 percent for water based off of a 2003 baseline, or the total amount of energy consumed in 2003. All federal agencies should have reached a minimum of 30 percent reduction of electricity and 16 percent of water between its start in 2005 until fiscal year 2015.

With only two months into the year, Charleston personnel already have decreased electric consumption by 13.7 percent and water consumption by 2 percent for 2009. In 2008, base personnel reduced electric consumption by 30.6 percent.  They also reduced it by 32.9 percent in 2007.

The base's energy conservation team has several programs and initiatives already completed or in progress to help minimize the total energy consumption.

First, 70 percent of the taxiways on base already have LED, or light-emitting diode, lights in place to replace the incandescent lights that were there.  All taxiways are programmed to have all lights changed to LEDs by fiscal 2011.

"Converting to LED lights will promote energy savings and they're also easier to maintain with a better reliability than incandescent lights," said Jeff Morgan, 437th Civil Engineer Squadron base energy manager. "They also have about five to six times the longevity of incandescent bulbs."

LED lights also were put to use in another location besides the flightline. The traffic lights and pedestrian crossing lights by the front gate also have been converted from incandescent lights to LEDs. The estimated savings per year from this change alone is estimated to be $5,700.

During September, October and November of 2008, members of the 437 CES helped decrease energy consumption and costs by finding another way to eliminate incandescent lights. As part of Operation Change Out -- a voluntary U.S. Department of Energy program encouraging the replacement of incandescent bulbs with fluorescent ones -- 1,243 fluorescent bulbs were issued and placed in the base's military family housing units and dormitories. The energy savings from this program during a three-year period is estimated to be $37,000.

Aside from dealing with light bulbs, another energy-saving measure involves installing new heating, ventilation and air conditioning units throughout the base. There are currently four HVAC installation projects taking place at different facilities where old, outdated, inefficient heating and cooling equipment is being replaced with new, energy-efficient equipment and controls.

"The controls for these four new systems will be at one centralized location so we can control them by turning them off overnight or for a weekend, promoting some more energy savings for the base," said Mr. Morgan.

There also are plans in the future for replacing geothermal heat pumps located in military family housing with conventional HVAC systems.  This will result in an increase of both electric and water conservation.

In addition to new, energy-efficient equipment being installed on the base, Charleston officials also take a proactive role in finding ways to promote energy conservation by meeting quarterly with the Energy Management Steering Group. Base officials also remind Airmen that if they see anything needlessly consuming energy, like a leaky faucet, or a street light staying on throughout the day, to report it to the 437 CES help desk.

"We want Airmen take on the mindset that they're paying for it out of their own pocket ... turn off the light when you leave the office or unplug that space heater," said Mr. Morgan. "They don't realize just how much little things add up, but the average monthly electric bill for the base is more than $300,000."

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