Empowering Defense: Small steps save energy
Michael Grubb, Directorate of Public Works energy and water conservation manager, sets a programmable thermostat in Bldg. 1418 Oct. 13. Post officials promote using energy saving devices to help lower utility costs on post and at home during Energy Awareness Month.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- October is Energy Awareness Month, and Army officials remind people to be energy conscious with the motto, "Empowering Defense through Energy Security."

Achieving the goal of energy security requires energy use reduction and utilizing renewable resources, said Michael Grubb, Directorate of Public Works energy and water conservation manager.

"Our driving factor is Executive Order 13423, which requires us to have all federal facilities to reduce their energy use per square foot by 3 percent per year," he said.

Fort Rucker began this process in 2005, and Grubb expects to continue the post's steadily declining energy usage pace. Installations have until 2015 to comply and cut back on energy consumption by a total of 30 percent, according to the order.

Lowering energy use has a greater impact than just downsizing utility bills, though.

"Fort Rucker's primary mission is training, but the end result is to get the Soldier in the field and have him as well prepared as he can be, which requires funds. Anything we're saving here is more that can be put on the ground where the Soldier's actually performing," said Tommy Baldwin, DPW Engineering Division chief.

People can easily get involved in helping this effort personally and professionally.

"It's a cultural awareness - if people here treat their work atmosphere the same as their house, it would go a long way," Grubb said.

Post employees should turn off computers and monitors at the end of every day, unless required to leave machinery running overnight, Baldwin said.

Workers should also "eliminate and remove personal refrigerators, microwaves, coffee pots and other appliances that service only one or two people," he said.

These items waste energy without benefitting many people. Employees should instead use common office facilities provided for these purposes.

During heating season, Army regulations state post facilities should be kept at 72 degrees Fahrenheit, plus or minus two degrees, Grubb said. This guidance is also reasonable for heating at home, and should keep most people comfortable.

Baldwin recommends office workers either dress in lighter clothing if they find buildings to be too warm, or bring extra layers if temperatures feel chilly to them. Windows or doors should not be propped open just to change the climate for one person's comfort, because it disrupts the entire office and wastes energy.

Programmable thermostats can help regulate appropriate temperatures for different times of day, and should be set to save energy when buildings are unoccupied, Grubb said.

At home, people should keep south-, east- and west-facing windows shaded with curtains or blinds during warm weather to keep sunlight and radiation out, he said. In the winter, draw back curtains from windows to let natural light and heat in to warm buildings.

Fixing faucet leaks and drips at home can save significantly on utility bills, too. Hundreds of gallons of water can be wasted daily, even from the smallest leak, Grubb said.

Turning down the temperature on hot water heaters can also save money - 120 degrees Fahrenheit keeps water hot enough for showers and hand washing, but minimizes heat loss and wastefulness, he said.

Heating and cooling units' filters should be replaced monthly, "so the coils on equipment don't stop up and will be at maximum efficiency," Baldwin said.

People should follow these tips this month and throughout the year. Both men said they hope people can identify and fix utility inefficiencies and become proactive in saving resources and money.

Community members may call Grubb, at 255-1368, to help identify wasteful energy usage around post, like outdoor lighting being left on during daylight hours.

People can also submit work orders by calling 255-9041.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16