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Environmental exclusive: Conserve electricity

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. J. Smith
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

One of the second and third-order effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has been a shift in base utility usage.

Teleworking and virtual schooling has resulted in a change to where and how base electricity is being used. Service members, civilians and families stationed in the Kaiserslautern Military Community should help avoid unnecessary use of electricity when possible as individuals spend more time at home.

“Due to many folks staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic, utility usage has increased in housing units and decreased at schools,” said Markus Schaaff, 86th Civil Engineer Squadron electrical engineer

Ramstein Air Base’s energy use costs the U.S. Air Force money.

The installation’s electricity cost for fiscal year 2019 was $26.5 million, which equates to approximately $72,000 per day.

“That is money that is not going to projects or other improvements in the community,” explained Luis Saldivar, 86th CES energy manager.  

With all the measures Ramstein has taken to save electricity, the change with the biggest impact has been switching the types of light bulbs.

“The base saves electricity in a few ways,” said 1st Lt. Jacob Romitti, 86th CES project engineer. “Recently, Ramstein replaced streetlights with LED bulbs to decrease electricity demand.”

The 86th CES makes it a point to comply with all host nation laws.

“Ramstein respects its host nation laws regarding the environment and reduction of energy consumption,” Saldivar said. “When constructing new buildings, Ramstein ensures they follow the Energieeinsparverordnung, (German Energy Saving Ordinance) by constructing buildings with insulation, windows and roofing that comply with the regulation.”

In addition to complying with German laws to help protect the environment, energy use needs to be conserved by individuals living and working on base.

“Saving electricity is easy,” said Peter Best, 86th CES utility engineer. “It can be as simple as turning off lights when you’re not in a room or opening the blinds to use sunlight during the day.”

Additional ways to save energy:

  • Use task lighting, such as a desk lamp instead of lighting a room
  • Turn off fans or air conditioning while away
  • Cook with a grill to keep house cooler
  • Using cold water to wash clothing
  • Replace older appliances with energy efficient models
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with LEDs
  • Use power strips
  • Lower radiator output
  • Unplug electronics when not in use

“Individuals should care about saving energy because air pollution mainly comes from the burning of fossil fuels, and much of the world's energy is still produced this way,” Saldivar said. “Reducing energy consumption helps to reduce associated environmental problems and their negative impacts on everyday living and personal wellbeing. Also, less energy can also reduce the amount of carbon dioxide pumped into our atmosphere and keep our environment healthy and robust.”