Science and Technology News

Thursday, October 4, 2012

AF encourages ownership with 'I am Air Force Energy' motto

by Senior Airman Christopher Gross
460th Space Wing Public Affairs


10/3/2012 - BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- October is Energy Awareness Month, and now is the time to initiate ideas of how to save Air Force energy, time and money.

This year, Air Force leadership adopted the theme, 'I am Air Force Energy.'

"As energy consumers, we can impact the Air Force's fuel and electricity use every day -- by flying our aircraft at energy efficient altitudes, not letting vehicles or equipment idle, or simply turning off the lights. ... While individual efforts may seem small, they can have a big impact when multiplied across the Air Force," states a "Letter to Airmen," signed by the Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley, Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy.

According to an Air Force energy factsheet, the Air Force spent $9.7 billion on fuel and electricity in 2011 -- the equivalent of 12 CV-22 Ospreys, 12 C-17 Globemaster IIIs, 36 MQ-9 Reapers and 25 F-22 Raptors. The price of fuel is beyond the Air Force's control and increasing the strain on limited budgets. Every dollar not spent on energy allows the Air Force to invest that dollar into a high quality and ready force.

"Our Airmen are innovators. They have identified new policies, processes and technologies to improve the ways we use energy," said Donley, at a 2012 National Clean Energy Summit. "We will look to their continued creativity and focus on energy to obtain an assured energy advantage in air, space and cyberspace."

Some of those innovations include the Air Force building 131 wind, solar and other renewable energy projects. The Air Force also decreased its energy intensity 16 percent since 2003 by realizing where energy was wasted and updating facilities to fix such issues. An example would be sensor lights that automatically shut off after a period of time.

Helpful energy conservation tips people can apply at home and in work centers are:

· Use programmable thermostats to reduce heating and cooling when you are out and reach for thermostat settings of 69 degrees during winter and 76 degrees during summer.

     o Two percent can be saved on air conditioning costs for each one degree increase.

· Open blinds and curtains in the winter to gain heat, and close them to reduce heat in the summer. At night, closed curtains and blinds can serve as insulation trapping heat.

     o Closing curtains could save up to 10 percent in heat loss.

· Use a power strip as a central turn off point to disconnect power to cell chargers, fans, radios and other electronic devices not in use.

     o This can reduce electricity use by 10 percent.

· Replace older lights with compact fluorescent lights or light-emitting diodes.

     o CFLs use three-quarters of the electricity and last 10 times longer.

· Avoid bringing in space heaters or fans to work. Instead, inform your facility manager so the thermostat can be set correctly.

     o Wright Patterson AFB eliminated 810 personal appliances, including toasters, microwaves and coffeemakers, saving almost one million watts.

· Switch off your computer monitor when not in use for more than 20 minutes. While people can't always turn off computers, logging off at the end of the day puts the computer in energy-saving sleep mode.

     o If implemented across the service, this could save $10 million a year.

· Carpool, bike or use mass transit when commuting. Drivers should go the speed limit, accelerate and decelerate slowly, and ensure tires are properly inflated.

     o Carpooling one day a week reduces commuting gas consumption by up to 20 percent.

· Reduce the amount of time spent idling in the car.

     o Thirty minutes of idling burns one gallon of gas.

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