It’s time to refocus on energy savings

It’s time to refocus on energy savings

“A Sustainable Energy Future; Putting All the Pieces Together” is the theme for October 2015 Energy Awareness Month. 

This theme emphasizes just how central energy is to our national prosperity, security and environmental well-being. The theme focuses on you as an important piece of a larger puzzle — fitting into the big picture, shaping our energy future and moving our nation toward energy independence. 

Through day-to-day operations and projects, Hill AFB is working hard year-round to meet stringent energy conservation goals set by federal mandates and specific goals set by the Air Force Sustainment Center. 

Through the combined efforts of the Team Hill mission partners, Hill Air Force Base has saved more than 6.1 billion BTU, and earned $350,000 in incentives and bill credits by actively participating in the Rocky Mountain Power Wattsmart Program. 

The incentivized program model directs the incentives back to reimbursable customers who identify and implement energy saving projects. Energy projects such as HVAC equipment upgrades and lighting retrofits are projects that are relatively easy to perform and offer a good return on investment provide a simple avenue to utilize this program on base. 

Energy projects are only a part of the solution. As individuals, we are all responsible for how we use energy. 

How many times have you walked out of a room and left the lights on? What about leaving your television, stereo or computer turned on overnight? Or how about letting your vehicle idle while the air conditioner cools, or heater warms the interior? 

Everyone is guilty of these things, but with October being Energy Awareness Month, maybe it’s time to pay attention to the energy that we use and oftentimes waste. 

The monthly utility bill at Hill averages out to approximately $1.8 million per month. Studies have shown that individuals can drive a 10 percent reduction in energy use at the workplace simply by monitoring their energy use. 

Every month, we have the opportunity to implement these easy changes and save taxpayer dollars. You are called to work together, to be aware, and to take action to reduce energy waste. 

Let us take this opportunity to talk about energy and how to save it with colleagues, friends and family. Teach children the value of energy and show them by example how to use it wisely. Every day, each of us can change our habits and attitude.

There are many ways to save power in the workplace, such as:

• Set air conditioning thermostats to pre-cool spaces at off-peak times (peak periods are afternoon to early evening).

• Turn off lights when leaving an area for more than a few minutes.

• In areas with sufficient day lighting, turn off electric lights. Adjust blinds, if available, to reduce glare.

• Install motion sensors and separate lighting circuits to allow turning off unneeded lights. 

• Use task lighting and turn off general lighting where it is feasible to maintain sufficient lighting levels for safety and productivity. Use daylight where possible. It’s free and more pleasant than artificial light.

• Turn off computers, monitors and printers when not in use.

• Ensure ENERGY STAR-type “low power stand-by” and power-saver features are activated on computers, monitors, printers, and copiers.

• Turn off personal appliances, such as coffee pots and radios.

• Reduce electrical loads at home, too, to reduce demand on the utility system.

• Report any factors that affect comfort levels, such as drafty windows and doors. A simple repair could save energy and improve user comfort.

• Ensure radiators are not blocked with furniture; this affects the heat available to the room.

• Keep doors and windows closed while heating is on. Open doors and windows allow heated air to escape and cold air to come in.

• Ensure outside lights are only on when required.

• Don’t leave equipment on standby mode. They continue to us up to 70 percent of normal power consumption at no use.

• Switch computers off when not required. Even switching a monitor off during breaks.

• Tighten all water valves to make sure no water drips out when closed.

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