Think green, build green, fly blue

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Yvonne S. Spencer
  • 97th Civil Engineer Squadron
Act now to help lower the high cost of energy at home and at work. Act now to save energy, save water, save the future. It's a federal mandate. It's a fiscal responsibility. It's an environmental necessity.

October is Energy Awareness Month. I cannot think of a better way to start the new fiscal year than saving money on energy. Since 1991, October has been recognized as energy awareness month. This year's Air Force theme, "Think green, build green, fly blue", challenges us all to look for ways to conserve energy and be more efficient.
Altus Air Force Base began implementing energy and water conservation measures before they were mandated. The largest project of note would be the Energy Savings Performance Contract funded in 2005. The project replaced 95 percent of the lighting fixtures on the base from T-12 to T-8 fixtures. It also changed 98 percent of the plumbing fixtures to low flow fixtures.

In the 2009 program (July 08 - June 09), Altus AFB won second place in the Air Education and Training Command's Energy Incentive Award Program. Altus AFB was awarded $1 million for our overall energy reduction for the year. The utility usage by Altus AFB has been reduced by 28.5 percent over the last 7 years.

I am pleased to announce that Altus AFB was awarded an Energy Conservation Improvement Project to install a photovoltaic roof on hangar 509. This is a $775,000 project that will install a 100 kilowatt solar system to generate renewable energy here on base.

For government workers, electricity is mission critical. For others in the community - like the elderly - it can be a matter of life and death. Be prepared and take action to ensure reliable power supplies.

1. Turn off lights when leaving a room for more than a minute.
2. Turn on task lights; turn off general and overhead lights.
3. Turn off display and decorative lights.

1. Turn off printers, copiers, personal computers, and monitors when idle.
2. Activate and use the ENERGY STAR® "power saver" and "sleep" features.
3. Shut off coffee pots, radios, fans, and other appliances in the office.

1. Set thermostats to 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer.
2. Dress appropriately to minimize the requirement for conditioned air.
3. Make sure vent grills are not blocked by plants, books, or furnishings.

The availability and cost of clean water, it's one of the greatest challenges energy management professionals will face over the next 50 years. With moderate efforts, the Federal government can save 40 percent of its water use - equal to 121 million gallons of water a day, enough for 1.8 million people.

Every drop counts... Your efforts can create a ripple.

  1. Promptly report and repair leaks
  2. Replace old plumbing equipment such as toilets, faucets, and showerheads with efficient low-flow fixtures
  3. Shut off faucets completely, repair leaky faucets immediately
  4. Avoid flushing toilets unnecessarily
  5. Insulate water pipes, chillers, and storage tanks
  6. Replace old dishwashers and clothes washers with new efficient models and run only when fully loaded
  1. Plant native, climate-appropriate ground covers, shrubs, and trees
  2. Water lawns sparingly and only in the early morning
  3. Position sprinklers to water the lawn -- not the pavement
  4. Re-circulate water in decorative fountains, ponds, and waterfalls
  5. Collect and use water from non-potable sources and other systems where appropriate
  6. Check sprinkler and timing devices regularly to ensure proper operation
  7. Verify that irrigation systems are suited to plants, climate, soil conditions, and seasons
  8. Reduce grassy areas to only those needed, such as courtyards and play areas

It takes a concerted effort on the part of all Airmen to think about the processes that they perform and look for ways to conserve the resources that we have. It provides interesting challenges for my squadron to design and develop projects that build this base into a facility that optimizes all of its resources. Our combined efforts will enable Altus AFB in continuing to complete its mission and FLY BLUE.