KMCC energy initiatives to save $15M

by Staff Sgt. Travis Edwards
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The Kaiserslautern Military Community Center recently started Phase II of a cost-saving energy initiative that will save at least $15 million over the course of the building’s life.

Phase I consisted of removing redundant and unnecessary lighting in and around the KMCC complex.

“We’ve already removed 1,464 bulbs ranging from 54 to 1,000 watts,” said Patrick Daize, KMCC general manager.

Those bulbs were either replaced with more energy efficient bulbs or not replaced at all. This initiative yielded more than $140,000 in annual savings and reduces the amount of German energy used by about 120,000 kilowatt-hours a year. To put it in perspective, an average 1,700-square-foot house burns about 18,000 kwhs every month.

In addition to the lighting modifications, Daize said Phase II also involves adding revolving doors at the main entrances to the military mall.

“The current doors act like a wind tunnel. Each time the doors open, the outside air rushes in and the (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system has to work overtime to compensate for the loss of temperature control,” he said.

“It takes approximately 5,800 kwhs to increase or decrease the temperature by five degrees over 840,000 square feet of floor space,” said Master Sgt. Trevor Stephen, the KMCC operations superintendent. With the add-on of the revolving doors, the 86th Civil Engineer Group estimates further savings of more than $100,000.

“As energy costs increase, so will the savings,” Daize said. “We, as stewards of taxpayers’ money, must do what we can to ensure resources entrusted to us are not wasted.”

“This is good,” said German native Petra Lessoing. “(The Air Force) uses a lot of (German) energy and it is nice to see them try to reduce their consumption.”
Operations for the energy savings began with Phase I in 2009. Its goal was to identify excessive energy waste. However, Phase I and II are only the beginning.
Solar panels may be an addition to the KMCC in the future.

“We have approximately 10 acres of roof on the KMCC that can be utilized for renewable energy,” Daize said.

In 2007, Nellis Air Force Base constructed the largest solar-voltaic array in North America. The array consisted of 140 acres of solar panels and saved them an estimated $1 million annually while providing approximately 30 percent of their daytime power needs.

The KMCC doesn’t plan on building the biggest array in Germany, but Daize said a 10-acre solar farm could net Ramstein about $70,000 annually.
The KMCC is still looking for new ways to lessen its total carbon footprint, Daize said.

“Our efforts today will dramatically impact tomorrow’s finite resources,” he added.
However, energy awareness shouldn’t stop with the KMCC. Daize said that through education, the community can do its part even at home by turning off lights, when natural light suffices and during the hours of darkness, when someone leaves a room.

“Even good habits take practice,” he said. “Once formed, rewards extend for generations to come.”