Saving energy begins at local level
Solar panels like these on Main Post's Building 244 are just one of the ways in which the garrison is taking steps to provide energy conservation solutions.

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- Every year the month of October is globally recognized as Energy Awareness Month. This yearAca,!a,,cs Energy Awareness Month theme, Aca,!A"Powering America; WeAca,!a,,cre on Target,Aca,!A? identifies the need to continue aiming at energy targets to lower operating expenses, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and develop cost-effective and sustainable energy resources, while maintaining our high mission readiness.

Like any other federal institution, the Army is mandated by a myriad of government policies to reduce its energy consumption while sustaining its mission.

The Army operates in a domestic and world energy situation that is highly uncertain. To chart an effective and viable path for its energy and water future, the Army must consider developing enduring energy policies for its installations. The Army vision is to ensure secure, efficient, reliable, sustainable and cost effective energy and water services for installations. Development of new technologies and increased efficiencies will not likely fully offset the increasing energy use. The best option for meeting future energy challenges is Army-wide participation in efficient use of energy and prevention of energy waste.

There is a widespread belief at the installation level that with the limited financial resources for new technologies and with the increased operational requirements, energy reduction is progressively more challenging. The garrison needs your help to maintain the legislation energy reduction goals.

<b>Be an energy champion</b>
Studies have shown that people are more likely to engage in long-term behavioral change when their neighbors and friends also engage in the behavior. Such cultures can serve as excellent tools for energy conservation across the base.

Similarly, studies showed competition among similar groups improved workplace performance. The culture of competition that is ingrained into the military should be tapped into for our energy conservation efforts.

Members of the community can be energy champions. Practice energy conservation rules in your living and working environment and tell us about it. There are many incentive programs within federal government aimed at rewarding individual or group initiatives, like the U.S. Department of Energy Award, Secretary of the Army Award, and Army Ideas for Excellent Ideas Program.

<b>No-cost energy savers</b>
There are many simple no-cost, common sense measures every individual can take to conserve energy. Doing a little saves a lot, especially when the change becomes habitual.

Leaving lights on in unoccupied facilities wastes energy, especially in maintenance facilities and motor pools with high intensity lighting. Turn off those large electricity consuming lights when not performing maintenance work. Use daylight whenever possible.

Leaving doors and windows open while the heat is on also wastes energy. Ventilate your space by forced air ventilation, i.e. opening the windows for three to five minutes rather than keeping them open or tilted for many hours.

No one knows your activity better than you. If you are working in a maintenance facility and cannot close the bay door because of your daily work, submit a work order to DPW to fix it by either tailoring the heating switch to the door position or installing an additional PVC strip curtain, if needed. Consolidate storages to empty areas not fully utilized and turn off heating and cooling.

The garrison has already taken several steps to increase awareness and provide solutions for conserving energy.

- The garrison recently began two photovoltaic projects, two buildings on Main Post and three on Rose Vilseck. These projects will produce 300 megawatts per hour per year of solar electric power and help reduce energy costs.

- Domestic hot water solar panels were installed at the Main Post physical fitness center and at a dining facility on Rose Barracks.

- Reduced light intensity at the parking lots and along the Netzaberg road is enforced by switching off every other light.

- A government computer shut-off policy which saves $500,000 per year in electricity costs.

- Freeing-up local nationals during American holidays resulted in an energy conservation of $60,000 per year.

- A partnership with host nation agencies and utilities suppliers is in progress. This partnership will add an additional impulse to our efforts on energy security and sustainability, and renewable energy.

These efforts are already sending a clear signal of energy reduction trend within the garrison. After a decade of constantly increasing costs, for the first time in the garrisonAca,!a,,cs history our energy consumption has plateaued.

Much of this can be attributed to our community population conservation consciousness and business practice changes. However, this does not mean we can sit back. With a $40 million energy bill there is still plenty room to save more.

EditorAca,!a,,cs Note: Aref M. Arianta is the energy manager at U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr.

Page last updated Mon September 27th, 2010 at 08:50