FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Thanks to a Department of Defense initiative, Soldiers and their families living in on-post housing now have the opportunity to see green when they go green by saving gas and electricity.

The basic allowance for housing that a Soldier residing off-post receives covers the average energy consumption. Residents who use more than the average, also called the baseline, receive a bill and residents who use below the average, receive a rebate equaling the monetary amount of energy they saved.

Fortunately for residents, the average is determined each month by comparing like homes, taking age, the floor plan and square footage into account.

"We are proud of the program and feel that we've implemented one of the fairest systems," said Sharon Shores, Picerne Military Housing district manager.

"People who use additional energy have to pay for it and others get a rebate. It is a great incentive, people can actually make money if they conserve."

The billing program started with a three month, mock billing period to the neighborhoods in the program, allowing residents to see what their energy usage was compared to the average and adjust accordingly. The first live billing began in June 2008.

So far this year, 31 percent of military housing residents of neighborhoods participating in the initiative received rebates averaging $29.56, said Shores.

If families go over the average, there is a five percent buffer zone that prevents a bill from being generated.

For example, if the average consumption equals $100 and the resident's bill is $104.25. Since the $4.25 is less than five percent over the baseline, their statement balance is adjusted back to $0.

When residents exceed the five percent buffer, they must pay the amount that exceeds the average.

If the amount due is less than $15, a bill is not generated until the amount due exceeds $15. The same applies for credits, if the credit is less than $15, a rebate check is not generated until the amount exceeds $15.

Shores said she reviews the reading before statements are sent out to make sure there are no anomalies and excessive charges that may be indicative of false readings or bigger issues.

DoD mandated that every installation implement the initiative in all housing areas by 2013. "We hope to have all the homes on Fort Bragg on board and going green by 2012," said Shores.

For residents looking for ways to conserve energy to get a rebate, Shores encourages them to start with the basics.

"To cut back on energy consumption people should only wash full loads of clothes and dishes; close windows and doors when the air conditioning or heat is running; and turn out the lights when they leave a room."

Page last updated Thu October 8th, 2009 at 17:25