Academy prepares to pay: Leaders to get billed for energy use

  • Published
  • By the 10th Civil Engineer Squadron
  • 10th Air Base Wing
Starting next month, six senior officials at the Air Force's Academy will have yet another bill to cope with -- a bill detailing the cost and use of their organization's energy.

These officials are the leaders of the Academy's mission elements: the Athletic Department, the Cadet Wing, the Dean of Faculty, the 10th Air Base Wing, the Preparatory School, and the 306th Flying Training Wing, the Academy's mission-partner.

"The bill will contain a graph depicting energy consumption trends so it's easily discernible whether energy use and costs are increasing or decreasing," said Russell Hume, an engineer with the Academy's Installations Directorate.

"The goal of this billing program is to increase awareness to help us make energy a consideration in all we do. This is important because every dollar we avoid spending on energy is a dollar that we can redirect into direct mission requirements here."

The mock-billing program is just one of many ways the Academy's Energy Action Month Team has provided information and education on energy use in the Air Force and at Academy since Energy Action Month began Oct. 1.

These bills will be sent directly to these officials depicting their organizations' energy use and providing ideas on how to reduce that use, Hume said.

"The mock-billing concept is not an Academy concept -- it's been around for years," he said. "These bills are designed to provide commanders with information they can use to develop and implement organized energy reduction initiatives and competitions."

Building on these foundations, Academy personnel must now look at the long-term goal of the Air Force energy strategy -- changing the culture, Hume said.

"'Making energy a consideration in all we do' is a saying that's been around for numerous years, but acting on those words has come very slowly, partly due to lack of knowledge or even apathy. For example, we know we're not supposed to use space heaters except in very limited and approved circumstances, but we catch people in various offices using them. It's every Airman and civilian's job here to follow energy guidelines, help get the word out and ensure we're doing all we can to conserve energy."
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration and their Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey, as much as 37 percent of building energy consumption is from office equipment and lighting.

Hume said he hopes this new knowledge of energy use will encourage commanders -- and by extension, Academy Airmen and staff -- to ask themselves what they can do to reduce energy use and expense.

"There are many opportunities to reduce cost," Hume said. "Although much of the heating and cooling in our facilities is controlled centrally, there are still many opportunities to cut down costs. "More than one-third of our facilities energy consumption is in the occupants' control. Together we can turn the Academy into an energy-conscious place and focus our limited funding away from energy expenditures and back to producing lieutenants for our Air Force and our nation."

Energy Saving Tips:

· Turn off lights in unoccupied areas
· Maximize use of task lighting and shut-down overhead lighting where possible
· Consolidate appliances: put them only in break areas
· Unplug chargers and other items when not in use
· Turn off monitors, speakers and other IT equipment at the end of the day
· Report heating and cooling issues immediately to your facility manager
· Avoid using space heaters and fans

(Academy Public Affairs contributed to this report)