Earth Day: 21st TSC helps to reduce energy consumption

by Chief Warrant Officer 3 Timothy Hawkes Logistics energy discipline officer
Courtesy of
Courtesy of

This year, the world will celebrate Earth Day on April 22. Earth Day is an opportunity to rethink our  commitment to energy conservation.

The 21st Theater Sustainment Command developed its energy discipline program in 2014. The focus of the program this year is to conduct energy assessments during tactical operations and  training.

Energy is a critical enabler for Army operations and represents a significant garrison and operational expense. The purpose of instilling energy discipline into all operations of the 21st TSC, is to create an energy informed culture, and ultimately create more efficient operations. Operational energy considerations should a part of mission planning just as risk assessment is.

The Army continues to develop more efficient and smarter systems; however, until new equipment is delivered to field and garrison sites, the 21st TSC is focusing on how current buildings and operational equipment can be optimized. 

Many improvements have already been accomplished by the 21st TSC.

“During my three years here, I’ve seen remarkable improvements in our efforts to save energy and money, and find ‘greener’ solutions to procedural challenges,” said Maj. Mike Swienton, a 21st TSC installation engineer.  “Some changes are very obvious to all, including the light emitting diode streetlights and the installation of more efficient light fixtures with motion sensors in our office buildings and common areas. The new roofs with better insulation on Panzer Kaserne are another great example of the initiative.”

During the 21st TSC’s deployment of its Regional Support Element to Dakar, Senegal, members of the group supporting Operation United Assistance conducted an operational energy survey of the generators used at the field command post; they recorded the kilowatt readings in order to establish a baseline of energy consumption. They discovered the generators were working at one-half their capacity.

Based on that research, the 21st TSC is developing an efficient power distribution system for a deployable command post, utilizing currently available equipment, which would decrease the number of needed generators from three to one, thereby decreasing fuel usage, man-hours to fuel and maintain the generators and noise on the camp.

Another example of utilizing energy discipline is performing assessments on buildings currently occupied by the 21st TSC. These building assessments will allow Soldiers of the 21st TSC to act as a second set of eyes for the garrison Directorate for Public Works.

DPW’s goal is to incorporate energy savings into new construction, renovations and repairs. Soldiers assigned as building energy monitors can help by identifying energy waste. There may be minor issues that, by themselves, are not worth addressing but could realize significant savings on a larger scale across the garrison.

The Army is continuing to evolve to meet the challenges of shrinking budgets and increased demands. Do your part, think energy savings at work — during training and in the operational environment.