Let’s save energy

by David W. Carter
86th Civil Engineer Squadron base energy manager
Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo

As fall approaches in Germany, most people are more interested in turning the radiator thermostat up rather than down. However, the month of October not only marks the changing season; it is also a time to recognize Energy Awareness Month.

As we enter the fall and winter seasons in Germany, we tend to increase the heat in our homes, turn on more lights during the longer evenings, and use more electronics as we wait for warmer weather. We fully expect, and even accept, that our utility bills will increase during the winter. However, if you think you pay a lot for energy, imagine paying the Air Force’s KMC utility bills — totaling nearly $4 million each month.

At home, we try to turn off the lights and keep the heating comfortable to keep our bills down. We may use the money to go on trips, buy holiday gifts or food and other essentials, or save for the future. The Air Force is trying to do the same, except the money saved could be spent on our Airmen, our readiness and our mission.

The federal government is the largest consumer of energy in the U.S., the Department of Defense is the largest consumer of energy within the federal government, and finally, the Air Force is the largest consumer of energy within the DOD. Thus, the Air Force has the most potential for savings not only in the area of aviation fuel, but also in facility energy conservation.

Though the KMC AF Asset Optimization Team has noticed an overall decrease in energy and water consumption within the KMC, there is always room to improve. While the team continues to strive to identify viable savings projects, we all have a part to play in accomplishing our reduction goals.

Simple changes, when executed across the KMC, can have far reaching impacts. Some ideas include consolidating appliances within your facility, remembering to log out and turn off your computer screen at the end of the day, adjusting radiators to a comfortable, but low, setting and using daylight when possible. Don’t turn a blind eye to problems. Know the name of your facility manager and report incorrect temperature settings, leaky faucets, blocked air vents, cracked door frames or windows, outdoor lights on during the daytime and other problems to them or to civil engineer customer service.

We all have a part to play in accomplishing this goal, but it shouldn’t be a goal that we focus on only once a year. Here are some ways to conserve energy:

• Maintain space temperature standards.

• Turn off interior lights at the end of the work day or when they are not needed.

• Report any exterior lighting left on during daylight hours either to the building facility manager or to customer service at 480-7517.

• Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.

• Turn off computer monitors, printers, scanners and other office equipment at the end of the work day. Computers connected to the network must remain on for security updates.

• Use of personal appliances, such as coffee makers, refrigerators and microwaves, should be minimized to the fullest extent and consolidated to break rooms only.

• Purchase only energy efficient products (appliances, equipment, etc.).

For more on energy efficient products, visit www.energystar.gov.

Each of us has an important part to play in conserving energy. Keep an eye out throughout October for more energy conservation tips and events. For energy conservation questions, comments or suggestions, contact the KMC Energy Management Team at 480-7279.