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Creating a culture of energy conservation

  • Published
  • By Lt. Gen. James Kowalski
  • Air Force Global Strike Command commander
October is Energy Awareness Month and I am challenging you, the Airmen of Air Force Global Strike Command, to incorporate energy conservation into your daily lives.

By changing our culture with regards to energy use, we achieve increased operational efficiency and remain good stewards of taxpayer dollars. The "big picture" is that across the command, we are doing extraordinary things to save energy.

The 5th Bomb and 91st Missile Wings at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., were recently recognized for surpassing federally mandated energy and water conservation goals with the 2010 Reducing Energy Appreciation Program award.

The 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., started an initiative to replace government vehicles with electric hybrid vehicles. These hybrid vehicles conserve fuel by using electricity to help power the vehicle, reducing emissions and fuel costs.

The 2nd Bomb Wing here at Barksdale has installed occupancy sensors in bathrooms, set to automatically turn off when the room is empty, saving kilowatt-hours and allowing that energy to be used in other critical mission areas.

Other energy conservation efforts across the command include improving existing infrastructure, using renewable energy, improving building heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) efficiency, replacing aging lighting fixtures, and installing advance meters to monitor energy usage.

Innovative efforts like these will result in significant savings. In Fiscal Year 2011, Global Strike Command funded 23 projects in the amount of $23.4 million, with a projected annual savings amount of $2.6 million in natural gas, coal, and electric energy costs.

These examples may seem exceedingly large in scope, but there are steps Airmen in the command can take to work toward being better stewards of energy. It is as simple as flipping off light switches and turning off monitors at the end of the day, removing non-energy efficient appliances such as old, power-intensive refrigerators, reporting cracks and air leaks in building exteriors (walls, windows, doors and frames), ensuring lighting fixtures are clean and well maintained and ensuring water systems are free of drips or leaks.

Make your office an extension of your home when thinking about conserving energy.

We're looking at shrinking budgets and growing energy costs, so we have to do everything we can to control what we spend on fuel and power. I'm depending on every Airman and on every contractor to maintain a culture of energy awareness and make us more efficient in what we do.

The Air Force Energy Awareness campaign theme, "Power the Force, Fuel the Fight," sets the tone for Energy Awareness month, but energy awareness does not end Oct. 31. I challenge you, the Airmen of Air Force Global Strike Command to help to reduce our demand for energy by making energy a consideration in all you do.