Energy stewards: Communities get active with energy conservation efforts
March 26, 2010
WIESBADEN, Germany - Leaders asked and members in the communities are responding.
Members in the U.S. Army Garrisons Wiesbaden and Baumholder communities are getting onboard with the initiative to conserve energy in homes and work centers as a result of encouragement from leaders to help reduce energy consumption.
"We have to continue to stay ahead," said Ernst Kusiak, USAG Wiesbaden Directorate of Public Works chief mechanic and registered energy manager, referencing the goal of reducing energy consumption by at least 3 percent annually.
Though a variety of areas were pointed out where low- and no-cost ideas can be implemented, officials said they must first perform surveys to determine the best ways to approach instituting conservation measures.
"We always have to include the tenants in the building affected," said Yogendre Patel, USAG Baumholder DPW chief mechanic, who said the organization is first looking at facilities where consumption is high to analyze practices before employing actions.
Facilities such as the dining facilities, fitness centers, aircraft hangars and food courts consume the most energy generally in the form of heating, hot water and power. As a result, officials are looking at alternative ways to create energy, to ultimately reduce the expenditure of fossil fuels.
Patel said USAG Baumholder is considering installing a turbine as well as exploring regenerative energy methods that involves burning wood.
Kusiak said the garrison has submitted a requirement to approve solar hot water because the fitness center consumes such a high volume of that form of energy.
Though some measures will not be implemented until the results of the surveys are returned, the garrisons' DPW staffers have not only addressed some of the minor findings from the assessment conducted during late January and early February, but have also completed projects that came out of separate studies from the previous fiscal year.
USAG Wiesbaden has swapped out old light bulbs and replaced them with new energy-efficient ones in the self-help supply store and the DPW supply; a project to replace street lights with low wattage light bulbs was completed in October; through the heating privatization contract the garrison replaced hot water boilers with new energy-efficient ones; and the old heating distribution lines are being replaced in phases with new technology lines that are better insulated and have no heat loss.
"We have done a lot, but we still need help from the tenant units so we meet our requirements with reductions," said Kusiak who said the garrison will continue to encourage community members with a campaign that will involve putting awareness literature in the hands of residents and employees.
And while DPW officials will campaign, some are already getting active in the initiative.
"I am now more actively aware. Now I close the window or turn the heat down and that doesn't cost me a thing," said Jeanne Galindo, USAG Wiesbaden Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, who said the energy assessment reminded her of additional things she could do to reduce individual consumption at work. "It never occurred to me that the printers and copiers were drawing so much energy ... Little by little it adds up. Now we shut off lights when they're not in use, turn off printers and copiers when we leave for the evening."
Even though residents in Army family housing are not directly paying the bill, some are approaching the matter as if they were.
"We are used to paying for every kilowatt minute. I admit that it really is hard to stay motivated when we know we personally aren't paying for it, but we also know that if we don't pay now our kids will pay," said Elizabeth Kronoff, USAG Baumholder resident. "U.S. taxpayers are paying the energy bill. It's not right to waste their money."
Kronoff said her family is actively trying to conserve energy and water at home by unplugging things that are not in use especially chargers for telephone and portable electronics.
"Some chargers waste energy even when there's no phone on them. ... That heat you feel (on chargers) is wastage," said Kronoff who added that her family tries to consciously use the economy cycle on appliances such as the dishwasher and washing machine, rarely uses lights during the day, turns off lights when they leave rooms and will gradually replace light bulbs with new energy-efficient ones.
Leaders realize that getting everyone on board will take time, but they continue to encourage community members by reemphasizing their civil duty to neighbors and the environment.
"Everyone in the community needs to be good stewards of limited resources, including energy. That means we must transform the way we think about energy consumption. We must establish a cost-culture, and we must police ourselves daily in order achieve measurable conservation and efficiency," said Col. Jeffrey Dill, USAG Wiesbaden commander.
Community members can support the energy conservation initiative by submitting service orders for facility maintenance and repair to the DirectorA,Aate of Public Works Customer Service Center. In Wiesbaden submit service orders at www.wiesbaden.army.mil or call mil 337-9999, civ (0611) 705-9999; in Baumholder call mil 485-6133/6138/6182 or civ (06783) 6-6133/6138/6182. Additionally, one can contact the community DPW for more information regarding energy conservation in homes and work centers.