Small things matter in energy-saving efforts

  • Published
  • By Wayne Crenshaw
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
A lot of big things are being done at Robins to help meet the goal of reducing energy costs, such as using more energy-efficient lighting and replacing heating and air systems, but it's the little things where Team Robins members can help.

This Memorial Day weekend, the energy office is reminding workers here to conserve by turning off computer monitors, speakers and other "energy vampires" around the work place.

It might not seem like a lot until you consider that over 25,000 people work on base.

"One won't make that much difference, but when you multiple it by the number of people who work here, it adds up," said Jeanne Paris, energy awareness and conservation manager.

If a person at a typical desk at Robins makes sure to turn off the computer monitor, task lighting and speakers before going home, that would save about 1 kilowatt hour per day, said Arthur Howard, also an energy awareness and conservation manager.

He calculated that would save the base $120,000 per year in energy costs, enough to power about 160 homes. That savings goes even higher when considering that many people have more than one monitor and additional energy sappers such as electric pencil sharpeners and clocks.

The base has a goal of reducing expected energy costs by 10 percent by Oct. 1. The base is 72 percent toward that goal, which is on track to meet it, Mr. Howard said. A further 10-percent reduction goal is being planned for the upcoming fiscal year, he said.

The current goal requires a reduction of 34.6 million kilowatt hours, and the reduction is now at 26 million kilowatt hours, said Judah Bradley, base energy manager.

"We are closing on the electric energy reduction goal set by Col. Berry, 78th Air Base Wing commander," Mr. Bradley said. "The example of one cubicle shows how everyone can make a contribution, and how quickly every contribution adds up."

The base is also participating in the Operation Change Out campaign, which encourages switching from incandescent lighting to more energy- efficient fluorescent lighting. A basic lamp light bulb can now be exchanged for a fluorescent bulb that uses about 75 percent less energy and lasts 10 times longer.

Although originally targeted for base housing, Mr. Howard said Operation Change Out is now being used throughout the base. He said anyone changing incandescent bulbs should now use the fluorescent bulbs.

The base has already been converting to fluorescent lighting in numerous applications other than standard light bulbs, a program that started in 1999, said Paul Kelley, director of the 78th Civil Engineer Squadron.

"We are doing it all over the base," he said.