Luke shows off energy conservation program

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Robert Zoellner
  • 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The Luke community showcased its energy conservation programs to the Air Force assistant secretary for installations, environment and logistics Oct. 26.

William C. Anderson visited here as part of October's Energy Awareness Month. He got a first-hand look at the base's energy and conservation initiatives including the new base exchange solar integrated photovoltaic roof, as well as the low-speed vehicle program and water chillers for base cooling.

One of the 56th Logistics Readiness Squadron's energy-saving initiatives is the use of bio-diesel in all 56th Fighter Wing's diesel-burning vehicles. This initiative cut emissions by 50 percent. More than 360 low-speed vehicles also replaced government-operated vehicles, greatly reducing gasoline consumption.

Luke's efforts in energy conservation were applauded by Mr. Anderson, who said the Air Force leads the way in energy conservation programs.

"When awards come out federal government-wide, the Air Force is getting more than its fair share of those awards," he said.

He was also impressed with the base's waste water reclamation used for watering on base.

"My hat's off to you for what you have done here," Mr. Anderson said. "I'm intrigued to see what you are going to accomplish in the upcoming years."

Mr. Anderson encouraged Luke people to keep looking into cost-saving and energy-efficient ideas.

"Don't stop exploring ways to save money and energy," he said. "Although the cost for looking into a new technology is always expensive to finance, it is the end result and the cost savings that make the difference to the budget and the environment."

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the BX roof was actually held on the roof itself. The roof, replaced this year through a contract with Honeywell, is solar integrated. This $13.8 million energy conservation project was designed to increase efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, saving the Air Force $21.8 million in energy and operational costs over the next 20 years. The Arizona Public Service Company financed a $1.5 million rebate for this renewable energy project.

"What a great location, here on top of the Luke BX and commissary in the middle of hundreds of solar panels, to take a few minutes to highlight successful efforts and encourage a culture where Airmen conserve energy," said Col. David Orr, 56th FW vice commander.

Colonel Orr said that Luke officials have undertaken many energy-saving initiatives over the years. The Air Force alone couldn't afford renovation and changes needed to improve the BX roof.

"Through innovative contracting, guaranteed savings and partnering with (Arizona Public Service) and Honeywell this team made it happen," Colonel Orr said. "At the same time, we are able to exceed the Department of Defense energy reduction goals and support renewable energy programs.

"This partnership has enabled us to stand here today as one vested group and marvel at measurable results reached through agreements and productive working relationships," he said.

"I view this as kind of a meeting of pioneers, people who are on the leading edge of change and people whose research, thought and production have all helped Luke become stronger, more efficient and better stewards of the precious resources the Air Force is dedicated to protecting," Colonel Orr said.