October is Energy Awareness Month

by Col. Douglas Hammer
86th CEG commander

As fall approaches in Germany, most people are more interested in turning the radiator thermostat up 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, experience tells us that utility costs will soar. But, if you think you pay a lot for energy, imagine having to pay the KMC’s electric and heating bills, which work out to nearly $4.25 million each month! It’s money that could be spent on our Airmen, their readiness and our mission.

Since 1991, the Department of Energy has used the month of October to kick off its annual energy awareness campaign, promoting efficient uses of energy. This year’s theme, “Turn Words into Action; Turn Action into Results,” builds upon the U.S. Air Force facility theme, “Leaner Installations, Cleaner Sources, Smarter Decisions,” and places an emphasis on increased energy conservation measures. This reminds us that we need to work together and hold one another accountable to make wise energy choices.

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 the Air Force is the largest consumer of energy within the Department of Defense Thus, the Air Force has the most potential for savings not only in area of aviation fuel, but also in facility energy conservation. This year’s themes support the Air Force’s overall mission to “Fly, Fight and Win.”

The KMC’s energy team has many projects in the works, such as replacing roofs with better insulation, installing Ramstein’s first photovoltaic and solar thermal roofs, and upgrading lighting to energy-efficient fixtures. All these efforts make good sense in a fiscally constrained environment, and they are also tied to Executive Order 13423, which mandates federal agencies to reduce energy consumption 30 percent by 2015. We all have a part to play in accomplishing this goal, but it shouldn’t be one we focus on just once a year.

This year, as our Air Force begins Energy Awareness Month, I want to thank everyone for their efforts to date reducing our energy demand. I would like to encourage everyone to take “ACTION” this October. ACTION stands for: Appliance reduction, Computer log off, Temperature set points, Inform facility managers, Outdoor conservation and No waste. These are easy steps that can yield positive results for the community and the Air Force.

Appliance reduction ― Reducing the number of appliances in your facility can yield significant energy savings. Refrigerators, coffee pots and microwaves should be consolidated into break rooms and unplugged when not in use.

Computer log off ― Don’t just pull out your ID card and go home, remember to log off. The Air Force IT Power Management Team estimates this action alone can save more than $10 million a year. Turn off all office equipment, such as computer monitors, printers and scanners, which are not required to remain on for security updates.

Temperature Control ― Adjust radiators to a reasonable setting and allow them to bring the room to a comfortable temperature for all rather than continually adjusting the heat and then opening windows to compensate. Ventilate rooms properly by opening windows fully for 10 minutes instead of keeping them tipped. This prevents loss of heat during the winter and still provides fresh air.

Inform facility managers ― Inform know the name of your facility manager. Report incorrect temperature set points, leaky faucets, blocked air vents, cracked windows and other problems to your facility manager or Civil Engineer Customer Service.  

Outdoor conservation ― If you notice a broken sprinkler head wasting water or area lights left on in a parking lot during the day, report it to your local Civil Engineer Customer Service.

No waste ― Turn off interior lights at the end of the work day and use daylight when possible. Don’t turn a blind eye to problems. If you see something that doesn’t need to be on, turn it off. If you see a problem, report it. Each of us has an important part to play in conserving energy. Keep an eye out in October for more energy conservation tips and events.

For questions or comments, contact your KMC Asset Optimization Team at 480-7712. And, as always, thank you and your families for serving.