Make energy awareness part of your routine

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Mark Dillon
  • 86th Airlift Wing commander
As leaves fall and the temperature drops, most people are more interested in turning the thermostat up rather than down. Remember the month of October not only marks this changing season, it's also a time to recognize Energy Awareness Month. October provides us the opportunity to increase awareness of the energy challenges that confront our Air Force.

This year's energy awareness theme, "Working to Secure a Clean Energy Future," reminds Team Ramstein that we need to work together to make wise energy choices. Recently we performed a six-month audit to evaluate whether we are effectively managing our facility energy consumption, and the results say that we are doing great at home but have room to improve at work. Here at Ramstein, we consumed 114 million watt-hours in electricity and 102 MWH in heating and spent over $24.5 million in utility costs to support nearly 1,700 facilities in the last year. While our family housing consumption decreased by more than 22 percent (well done!), our operations and maintenance consumption increased by 8 percent.

We all have become very good at our own personal conservation efforts at home where we traditionally pay the bill. However, as our recent audit shows we need to do improve our conservation efforts at work. We must remind each other that by conserving energy and eliminating waste, we not only help the Air Force save both energy and money, but also help protect the environment.

To help this cause, I'm proud to report some significant areas of success where our civil engineer experts have researched energy saving equipment and projects that will save us thousands of dollars - from lighting control systems and window replacements to solar or photovoltaic panels.

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 intensity 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 in our homes. Keep it up. And carry those good habits with you to your work centers where we can make an even bigger difference.

Here are a few simple things we all can do at home and at work to save energy.

a. Turn lights off when rooms are not in use.

b. Set energy saving options on your computer.

c. Lose the transformer; replace your 110V equipment with 220V.

d. Report running faucets to facility managers.

e. Turn down the thermostat.

Remember, from fueling our aircraft to providing electricity in our work centers, energy powers our combat capability -- allowing us to fly, fight and win our nation's wars. We need to think about how energy is essential to this mission and the importance of being good stewards of these precious resources.

Keep an eye out throughout October for more energy conversation tips and events. And as always, thank you and your families for serving!