Leaders continue to tap “innovative” Airmen for energy savings

  • Published
  • By Capt. Natasha Waggoner
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs office

Air Force leadership calls upon Airmen to continue coming up with innovative ideas to provide the Air Force an assured energy advantage in air, space and cyberspace. 

 In fiscal year 2012, the Air Force spent $9.2 billion on energy, almost 10 percent of the total budget.  In a time of fiscal uncertainty, it is even more important everyone does their part in helping conserve resources, said Kathy Ferguson, Air Force for Installations, Environment, and Logistics acting assistant secretary.   

 “Energy is a key part of the effort to modernize our Air Force and do more with less,” Ferguson said. “Every gallon of fuel and watt of energy we save allows us to have more resources to meet other Air Force priorities.”

More efficient flight descent procedures, new ways of  loading cargo, and vehicle idle time reduction are just a few of the ways Airmen can help the Air Force achieve its energy goals and maximize its energy advantage to support the mission.

Beginning in October, which is deemed Energy Action Month, and throughout the year, the Air Force will highlight the month’s theme “I am Air Force Energy” with specific steps Airmen can take in their jobs to be more energy aware.  

Hundreds of Airmen have gone above and beyond to help increase our energy security, Ferguson said.  A few examples includeEnergy Manager David Morin led an energy program at Laughlin AFB, Texas, that collected and analyzed energy use data to increase energy efficiency and implemented xeriscopic landscaping wherever possible.  Xeriscaping is growing native plants that not only save money on the water bill but also save time because the plants don't need much care, and are more heat tolerant and drought tolerant than the normal garden variety plants. Through these efforts, Morin helped reduce base energy consumption by 27 percent, water by 24 percent and overall utility bills in fiscal 2012 by $1.9 million. 

U.S. Air Force Europe Energy Manager Kelly Jaramillo oversaw an energy program that included 46 projects that are estimated to save more than $5.5 million a year.  Jaramillo also implemented an energy awareness campaign that engaged the residents in military family housing and helped them reduce energy consumption 25 percent and natural gas 17 percent.

The Seymour Johnson AFB Support Center earned a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold rating by consolidating five functional organizations into a single facility, which cut energy consumption 60 percent and costs 50 percent.  The building utilizes a high-efficiency variable refrigerant flow heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, centrally maintained temperature set points, and low-flow plumbing.  These features helped the base reduce potable water use 50 percent, and save 2,862 thousand British thermal units (MMBTUs) and $55,000.  A BTU is a standard unit of measurement used to denote both the amount of heat energy in fuels and the ability of appliances and air conditioning systems to produce heating or cooling.

The Air Combat Command facility energy team at Langley AFB, Va., oversaw facility energy optimization at 16 installations, which reduced energy use by 5.9 percent from 2011 and awarded 39 energy projects to save 447,471 million British thermal units (MBTUs) and $5.4 million annually.  In total, the programs implemented by ACC reduced energy consumption by 538,809 MMBTUs, cut carbon dioxide emissions by 62,835 tons, and saved $6.67 million annually.

The 22nd Operations Group Fuel Efficiency Office at McConnell AFB, Kan., designed and implemented measures to reduce and eliminate inefficiency in the fuel management of the KC-135 Stratotanker.  These measures included reducing KC-135 landing fuel and changing the KC-135 standard landing configuration.  It also incorporated fuel efficiency software to inform flight speed, routing and altitude and pioneering a new training configuration which reduced aircraft basic weight and air maximizing simulator usage. Four hundred aircrew members were also trained on the importance of fuel management.  These efforts saved the Air Force $4.3 million, even though sorties increased 42 percent. 

“We need the continued commitment of every Airman and family member to help us continue to drive innovation, and ensure we efficiently use every gallon of jet fuel, every watt of electricity and every drop of gasoline,” said Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning.  “During these challenging economic times, every dollar counts and your every action can count towards reducing and supporting mission effectiveness.”

Besides learning from their colleagues, Airmen are encouraged to take an online energy module available to all personnel with a common access card on the Advanced Distance Learning System https://afcesa.csd.disa.mil.