by Staff Sgt. J. Aaron Breeden
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
10/25/2013 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Since
the 2007 partnership of Tierra Vista Communities and Peterson AFB
privatized base housing, TVC has worked diligently to improve the
quality of life for on-base residents. While there is some intermittent
work still on-going, in July, TVC wrapped up a five-month-long project
installing solar panels on the new homes, which will conservatively save
more than $1.1 million in utility costs over the next 20 years.
John Bittner, TVC development manager, said the current electricity rate
on-base is about one cent cheaper per kilowatt hour compared to
Colorado Springs Utilities. This margin is expected to increase
exponentially in the coming years, he added.
Furthermore, Bittner equated the panel's offset of carbon emissions to
eliminating more than 4.7 million pounds of coal annually, a huge step
in the "going green" direction.
"Right now it's kind of like, 'Eh, this helps,'" said Bittner. "But, 20
years down the road (we'll say), 'Ah! This was a genius move!'"
So, what do the savings from this "green" money mean for base residents?
Prior to the privatization of base housing, any saved monies would be
put back into the base's general fund and redistributed to agencies
across the base. This is no longer the case.
"After paying all of our bills ... money saved on operations goes into a
reinvestment account," said Bittner. "(When the account) fills up to a
certain extent we can build more homes; we can put in playgrounds; we
can do great things in the community."
"Whatever (goes into that account) goes back to the community, which is a huge, wonderful thing," said Bittner.
"The residents that live here today might not see that new house or
playground, but down the road the money saved will benefit future
Airmen," he said.
Surprisingly, Bittner said that Peterson residents were overwhelmingly
supportive of the project and many never realized the workers installing
the panels had already come and gone from their home.
"It is a partnership with the residents, the base command and TVC all
working together to make a successful project," said Bittner. "It was as
smooth of a project as you can possibly have."
For more information about this project or how to help reduce your carbon foot print, call TVC at 597-7200.