Education key to increasing energy conservation

  • Published
  • By Kevin Chandler
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
In Jan. 2007, President George Bush signed Executive Order 13423, requiring Federal agencies to pursue several energy conservation and environmental initiatives. Among these goals is a 10 percent annual increase in alternative fuel use, a 30 percent reduction is greenhouse gas emissions by 2015 and a three percent annual reduction in energy consumption.

In response to the order, Air Education and Training Command began the Energy Incentive Award Contest, a year-long command effort to reduce energy consumption and promote conservation. The contest, which runs through June 30, rewards the three bases who reduce consumption the most with $1.5 million, $1 million, and $.5 million respectively. These funds will be used for various base projects and improvements.

According to Mr. Pepito Castellanes, Base Energy Manager for the 97th Air Mobility Wing, now is the time energy conservation has the greatest impact. "Even though energy costs are higher in the summer, energy use is greater in the winter," he said, "because we use gas for heating, the cost is lower."

Mr. Castellanes believes "education will go a long way" in increasing awareness and reducing energy consumption. "It involves shifting paradigms," he explained, "we all have a big resistance to change and someone just telling you to change is not enough. People have to learn and understand why the change is important to them before they will accept it."

One shift Mr. Castellanes suggests is changing where the thermostat in offices and homes are set. "Reducing the heat to 70 degrees in the winter and setting the air conditioning to 78 degrees in the summer makes a significant difference," he said.

Col. David Allvin, 97th Air Mobility Wing commander, has made the contest and the issue of energy conservation a primary concern for the wing. During the recent Christmas and New Year's holidays Civil Engineering personnel turned off air handlers in large facilities to reduce energy consumption. Additionally, organizations are asking for suggestions to make daily processes more energy efficient.

The efforts are paying off. Currently, Altus Air Force Base is behind only Luke Air Force Base in reducing energy expenditures. There is room for improvement though, if everyone makes conservation a priority.

For information on ways you can save energy, call Mr. Castellanes at 481-6882 or visit the Department of Energy's online Consumer Guide at: