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Every Dollar Counts
Russell Hume (right), a 10th Civil Engineer Squadron engineer, chats with Tom Hykes (middle), a 10th CES resource energy manager, and a journalist from the Republic of Cyprus (left) in July 2013 while walking through the Academy’s solar array near the south gate. (Sarah Chambers/U.S. Air Force photo)
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10th CES saves with energy saving initiatives, education

Posted 6/12/2014   Updated 6/12/2014 Email story   Print story


by Amber Baillie
Academy Public Affairs

6/12/2014 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Editor's note: This is the concluding feature in a two-part series showing how Academy units save tax-dollars in an era of fiscal constraints.

In keeping with Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry Spencer's Every Dollar Counts campaign to change the culture and mindset of all Airmen, creating cost saving initiatives to save taxpayer dollars, 10th Civil Engineering Squadron Asset Optimization Chief Corine Weiss said reducing energy consumption here not only saves money but improves the environment.

"The main goal of the campaign is facilitating a paradigm shift of Airmen in today's fiscally challenged economy," she said. "Each organization has responsibilities they fulfill in which routine processes can be evaluated for more efficient ways of doing business to save money."

In April, the 10th CES initiated mock billings to mission elements here to educate Airmen and personnel on practical ways to reduce energy use and value every Academy dollar.
"Mock bills provide USAFA mission elements electric usage and electricity costs for their organization's facilities," Weiss said. "The purpose is to bring awareness to mission element leaders on the total electricity costs for their organization so they can monitor use and implement operational changes to reduce consumption."

While the 10th CES continues to evaluate and implement new energy saving technologies, individuals here have the opportunity to minimize electrical expenses by changing simple, day-to-day actions in their workplace, she said.

"Turn off lights in unoccupied areas, turn off overhead or task lighting when not needed or when leaving the office for an extended time period," Weiss said. "Consolidate appliances, limit the use of personal appliances such as coffee pots and portable fans, and unplug chargers and other electronic items when not in use.

Other ways to save energy include turning off power strips, monitors, speakers and other peripheral IT equipment at the end of the day, and avoid the use of personal space heaters. Instead, report heating problems to your facility manager."

Last year, the 10th CES installed air handling units programmed to shut off in parts of facilities every 15 minutes to reduce electric costs and energy consumption.

"It saves an enormous amount of energy," she said. "The only time we're unable to do that is during extreme cold or hot weather. Those 15 minutes save a significant amount of electrical energy and make no noticeable difference to building occupants."

The aim of these initiatives is to become more environmentally responsible, Weiss said.

"Using less energy results in less pollution," she said. "The 10th CES encourages public media venues to increase the awareness of, and educate the USAFA community of energy conserving actions."

10th CES cost-saving initiatives
· Installing 1, 234 light-emitting diode fixtures in parking lots and streets, saving the Academy $38,000 in annual electric costs. The LED fixtures consume about 40 percent less electrical energy at the same or higher lighting levels than high pressure sodium fixtures.

· Installing the Siemens Smart Box in March 2013 as a Defense Department demonstration project. The Smart Box now controls energy use in Arnold, Mitchell and Vandenberg Halls and the Community Center.
  Testing was conducted from March-December 2013. Metering is not in place to measure actual savings, but the technology is promising for further development not only at the Academy but Air Force wide.

· Installing two photovoltaic arrays to provide electricity: one on the rooftop of Vandenberg Hall and a 36-acre array at the Academy's south gate. The six megawatts generated by this array have decreased the Academy's total energy cost by 12 percent -- more than $750,000 in annual electrical costs and $1.7 million since its activation in 2011.

· The Academy now receives about 13 percent of its power via hydropower, a renewable power source, from Western Area Power Administration, which had saved the Academy more than $500,000 in electric utility costs since 2011.

· Last year, the Academy implemented mandatory watering restrictions established by Colorado Springs Utilities. The restrictions limit watering times for all residential and commercial customers.

  The Academy beat CSU's goal by a 32.5 percent reduction in potable water use from 2012 to 2013. This equates to a savings of 121 million gallons and $366,000 in utility costs during the April through October irrigation season.

· The Academy has used Xeriscaping and synthetic turf technology, saving an additional 19.3 million gallons of water and $86,000 per year. The 10th CES recently completed Xeriscaping projects at the B-52 circle, bowling alley, commissary, and portions of road medians near the north Gate and Stadium Boulevard.

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