Energy Conservation is Our Responsibility

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Beth Holliker
  • 180th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Energy consumption here at the 180th Fighter Wing must be reduced by nine percent in fiscal year 2009 in order to meet Ohio Governor Ted Strickland's goal of a 20 percent reduction in energy consumption by 2012. Energy costs are rising, but the 180th's energy budget will not be increased forcing us to reduce energy consumption as not to exceed the annual budget while also meeting Strickland's goals. 

Along with the State of Ohio's energy reduction requirements, Executive Order 13426, Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management, dated March 29, 2007, requires that all federal agencies reduce their energy consumption by three percent annually or by a total 30 percent between Federal Fiscal Years 2007 and 2015. Here at the 180th FW, we have already reduced our consumption by approximately 19 percent since 2003. 

"We are on the right track," said the commander of the 180th FW Civil Engineer Squadron, Lt. Col. William K. Giezie. "We still have a long way to go and need to continue doing what we are already doing in order to meet these goals." 

In an effort to meet both the state and federal reduction goals, the 180th has implemented Wing Instruction 23- 301, Energy Management and Conservation outlining all unit policies for energy conservation. 

The policy felt by most unit members is the regulation of base heating and cooling systems. This policy mandates that the heating systems will be turned on the first of Oct. and be turned off on the 15th of April and set to 68 degrees in office spaces and 60 degrees in shop areas during normal working hours. The air conditioning will be turned on the first of June and turned off on the first of Sept. and set to 78 degrees in shop and office spaces during normal working hours. Outside of normal working hours lower maintenance temperature settings will be utilized. 

Though uncomfortable at times, maintaining a more rigid heating and cooling management system in itself helped to reduce our energy consumption by eight percent from FY 2005 to FY 2006.

With much help from the Honorable Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur from Ohio's Ninth Congressional District, the 180th has begun the development of the solar electric generation filed. Kaptur obtained $8.2 million in Department of Defense Research Development Testing and Engineering funds in 2006 to develop an alternative energy site. The site is estimated to result in an annual utility savings of an estimated $100,000. 

The180th also has over $2 million in other energy conservation projects lined up throughout fiscal years 2008 and 2009. These projects include the installation of automated thermostats, lighting management and upgraded heating systems, all of which will result in a reduction of energy usage and utility bills. 

Why is this so important, you may ask or how does this effect you? Along with meeting
the goals and requirements set by both the state and federal governments, the 180th has a set annual budget for utilities of about $600,000. Eighty percent of this budget is funded by the federal government and 20 percent is funded by the state. As energy costs soar our budget remains the same. 

"This budget has the potential to be decreased, but rarely will it ever be increased," said
Giezie. 

Energy conservation does and will affect all of us in one way or another. We may be a little chilly sometimes, but we can deal with that by dressing warmer or in layers. We are all going to have to do our part in helping to conserve energy here at the 180th. 

"This is going to be the key to us making the presidential and governor's mandates on energy reduction," said 180th Fighter Wing Commander, Col. Mark E. Bartman. "We've already picked almost all of the low hanging fruit and turned the thermostats down as much as we can, so we have to get engaged with alternative energy sources to comply with the mandates." 

There are several things that you can do to help conserve energy. A 2007 study by Air Force Communications Agency found that by turning your monitor off at the end of the day and setting your monitor sleep mode to ten minutes can save the Air National Guard $1.5 million annually in energy costs. It is little steps like this and turning off the lights that add up and make the biggest impact. So take the time to turn your monitors and computers off at the end of the day. Make sure to keep lights off in areas that are not occupied or turn them off when you leave the room. 

If we all make energy conservation our responsibility, we will continue to be on the right track to meeting the goals and requirements set before us.

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