Science and Technology News

Friday, October 26, 2012

Osan plays major role in energy savings

by Staff Sgt. Stefanie Torres
51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

10/26/2012 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The Air Force is no stranger to the saying "do more with less," and that's exactly what Team Osan has in mind when being energy efficient.

The Department of Defense is the single largest consumer of energy in the nation and the Air Force consumes more energy than any other service, explained Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley at the 2012 National Clean Energy Summit Aug. 7.

"Energy is a critical part of everything we do in the Air Force and across DOD," Donley said. Reducing energy demand and increasing energy supply sources are vital areas as the department looks to identify efficiencies and expand capabilities, he added.

Therefore, during October's energy awareness month, Osan has stepped up to meet federal and executive order mandates to reduce annual energy usage, explained 2nd Lt. Lara Harris, 51st Civil Engineer Squadron energy conservation manager.

"Although saving energy is an on-going effort that each member should be participating daily in our lives, having a dedicated month to advertise energy conservation helps bring awareness to action," she said. "Since the mandates, Osan has met our annual goal every year of reducing our energy usage. The Air Force spends over $1 billion each year in facility energy - electricity, water, and heating fuel. Even if we save a few percentages, it plays a large part in the big Air Force picture."

Osan alone has installed smart meters, low-draw induction lights, detected water leaks, and researched possible clean energy sources, the captain explained. These projects as well as each individual's efforts have contributed to Osan's energy conservation successes, and it's easy.

"Everyone can play a part in saving energy," Harris said. "For dorm residents, it's as easy as replacing traditional light bulbs with CFL bulbs, which are available at the 51st CES Self-Help office. Turning off water faucets while brushing teeth or shaving, and ensuring windows are closed while AC is on makes a difference."

Airmen can also help at work by removing personal appliances, turning off lights or equipment, logging off computers, and reporting facility problems.

"Something as simple as everyone at Osan turning off their monitors at the end of the day and the start of weekends can save an annual amount of $82K base-wide," she said.

Osan was just awarded funding for a Ground Source Heat Pump project, the first-ever renewable energy project set to begin in November, explained the captain. The project will use geothermal energy for heating rather than purchasing expensive fuel.

"This is a key step toward meeting the federal goal of having 100 percent renewable energy by 2030," she said. "We can't do it without everyone's help. If everyone makes a conscious effort to conserve energy, we can continue to meet federal mandates and contribute to the fight as a team."

"The base energy team is developing more renewable and alternative energy type of projects," said Kristi Yu, 51st CES resource efficiency manager. "The next project will be the passive solar technology type application. The base energy team is putting the effort to help carbon footprint reduction through clean energy use."

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