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NEWS | Oct. 16, 2013

Energy Action Month: 'I am Air Force Energy'

By Airman Areca T. Wilson 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The U.S. Department of Energy designated October as Energy Action Month, observed by federal government employees to emphasize the importance of energy in their daily lives.

This year, the U.S. Air Force's Energy Action Month theme is "I am Air Force Energy," highlighting the role Airmen play in ensuring energy conservation and achieving the mission to fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace.

"Energy efficiency is using less energy to provide the same service or perform the same work." said Donald White, 633rd Civil Engineer Squadron base energy and utility manager. "Energy conservation is reducing or going without a service to save energy."

To aid in the conservation of energy, Joint Base Langley-Eustis has introduced several measures including occupancy sensors to reduce interior lighting when areas are unoccupied, day-lighting controls inside buildings to automatically reduce artificial lighting when daylight is sufficient, and demand ventilation controls used to reduce the amount of air brought in from outside when a building or room is not in full use.

In addition, geothermal systems, which use the earth as the energy source to provide heating and cooling, have been installed at 12 facilities, expansion of building automation systems to automatically control space temperatures based on occupancy of buildings, and metering to determine the energy used at the largest facilities have also been adopted.

Though these measures have already taken place, the efforts of Airmen still play an important role in saving energy.

In fiscal year 2011, the U.S. Air Force spent $9.7 billion on fuel and electricity, more than double the amount of money on fuel and electricity as it did a decade ago, said White.

"Energy efficiency is a big priority," said White. "Legislation and executive orders have come down the pipe for all branches of the military to cut back on energy use."

Joint Base Langley-Eustis must cut back energy consumption by 3 percent every year until 2015.

"At Langley, we are behind our goal of reducing energy 30 percent by 2015," said White. "We need each Airman to make energy a consideration in everything we do by conserving energy whenever possible, purchasing energy efficient equipment and adhering to base requirement for office temperature settings."

Airmen can help achieve these goals by turning lights and equipment off when they are not in use and using Energy-star rated equipment said White.

"We rely on energy for most everything we do every single day," said White. "Energy costs money and the more we spend on energy, the less we may have for accomplishing our mission."

White also stresses conserving energy will also help in ensuring supplies are available for future use.

"Non-renewable energy supplies are limited, so using less now ensures supplies for the security of our future," he said. "Reducing both the production and consumption of energy reduces the amount of pollutants released into our atmosphere, and improves our quality of life."

The Air Force is not just focused on energy because of a mandate or to meet a goal but is focused on reducing demand, increasing supply and fostering an energy aware culture. This is crucial as it will allow the Air Force greater flexibility to pursue its mission and secure the future of the nation, said White.

For more information on Energy Action Month, visit

Below are actions that can be taken to help the Air Force achieve its goals:
-Turn off your computer monitor at the end of the day or when it is not in use for more than 20 minutes so that it can properly enter energy-saving sleep mode.

-Reduce idling in vehicles. Thirty minutes of idling burns through one gallon of gas.

-Consolidate personal appliances like coffee makers or microwaves in break rooms.

-Call the Civil Engineer Squadron if your building is too cold in the summer or too hot in the winter. They can save energy by adjusting the temperature set point saving energy.

-Look at the job you do every day. Each individual can personally impact the Air Force energy vision. Keep evaluating how you use energy, find ways to do it smarter.

-Replace older lights with compact fluorescent lights or light-emitting diodes. CFLs use three quarters of the electricity of an incandescent bulb and last 10 times longer.

- Use programmable thermostats to reduce heating and cooling when you are out and reach for thermostat settings of 69 degrees (winter) and 76 degrees (summer). For each one degree increase, two percent on air conditioning costs is saved.

-Use a power strip as a central "turn off" point to disconnect power to cell chargers, fans and radios not in use.

- 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; closing curtains could save up to 10 percent in heat loss.