Small changes save big bucks; energy conservation education at Hohenfels
September 13, 2011
- "We all have a responsibility to modify our behavior when it comes to using utilities."
HOHENFELS, Germany -- As part of ongoing efforts to educate and inform the community about energy conservation, U.S. Army Garrison Hohenfels partnered with one of Europe's largest power companies, E.ON, to bring an exciting, interactive mobile exhibit to the Hohenfels festplatz, Sept. 6. The traveling display featured multiple demonstrations on ways everyone can save energy.
"We all have a responsibility to modify our behavior when it comes to using utilities," said Lt. Col. Kevin J. Quarles, USAG Hohenfels commander. "Hohenfels Military community's utility bill last year was $9.1 million on post. If we all do the simple things like shutting off lights when we leave the room, not letting the water run, and closing the windows when the heat is on, we'll achieve savings on a very large scale."
Displays included a quiz where visitors could guess the costs of everyday activities, such as heating water for a glass of tea or blow drying their hair. Another section demonstrated how much more energy it takes to power a traditional incandescent bulb than an energy saving light bulb by having visitors power the lights themselves by pedaling a bicycle. Hohenfels Middle/High School student Kathy Salerno managed to light up 16 energy saving bulbs but only three incandescent bulbs.
"That was really hard," Salerno laughed. "It makes a big difference using energy saving light bulbs."
Salerno said she also learned that energy usage releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which may contribute to global warming and even alter weather patterns.
"And it costs money," she added.
Some displays highlighted how small changes can lower utility bills, like washing clothes at a cooler temperature or taking a shower instead of a bath. Simply leaving your appliances on stand-by so you can turn them on with the remote costs around 25 euro a year. While that might not seem like much to an individual, when you multiply that by the Hohenfels Military Community's roughly 7000 permanent residents, it can really add up.
"Over the last six years our utility costs have increased on average by $680,000 per year," said Quarles. "This has to stop. But it is going to take a team effort to accomplish this."
While the E.ON mobile was open to everyone, the morning was reserved for students.
"We're here to sensitive everybody and make the garrison aware of energy conservation," said Jochen Doerr, DPW Environmental Division. But it's very important to reach the younger generation, he added.
"Kids can go home and teach their parents," Doerr said.