WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii -- In 2010, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii's energy bill was $67 million.

The overwhelming cost every year has become an issue for installations, and garrisons Armywide are making an effort to reduce energy consumption.

"To ensure we are funding the most important programs for our Soldiers and families, we can't waste money needlessly on energy," said Col. Douglas Mulbury, commander, USAG-HI.

October is recognized as Energy Awareness Month, and Mulbury wants to encourage everyone to take an active role in conserving energy.

"Success lies in all of us working together to make smart energy choices and reduce wasteful behavior, so we can all preserve and protect today's resources for tomorrow," Mulbury said.

Water conservation has definitely improved during the years, but there is always room for improvement in energy conservation, said Bambi Bjugstad, manager, Energy Conservation, Engineering Branch, Directorate of Public Works, USAG-HI.

"I am hoping people are conserving energy, but with the price of gas and oil going up, it is hard to determine exactly how much we are saving," Bjugstad said. "We are having (energy) meters placed on some of the buildings, so we will better be able to determine (the current energy usage)."

One of the ways the garrison ensures energy conservation compliance is to have trained conservation representatives in its units and sections. Bjugstad trains the energy conservation officers, or UECOs, and building energy monitors, BEMs.

"(These representatives) encourage and remind people to conserve energy, (like to) turn off lights, computers and air conditioners at the end of the work day," Bjugstad said.

Island Palm Communities has also taken measures to assist in the energy conservation program.

In July 2010, IPC implemented a mock utility billing program, after the Office of the Secretary of Defense's policy requiring Soldiers and families to be responsible for their utilities was put in effect.

In August 2011, the first live utility bills went out to IPC residents to reduce energy consumption in the on-post communities.

Last month, IPC received the "Project of the Year: Green Award" from Multifamily Executive, a trade publication. According to IPC's news release, sustainability initiatives taking place at IPC and USAG-HI stood out from among more than 200 nominations. A big contributor for the award-winning programs is that IPC's energy comes from renewable energy sources, including photovoltaic systems and solar hot water.

Energy tips

To do your part in conserving energy, adopt the following tips:

•Turn off excess task lights above desk spaces or lights in a separate, unoccupied office space. Turn on only the lights that are needed.

•Turn off electric desk accessories items like radios, stereos, plugged-in calculators and personal fans when they are not being used during the day and at the end of the day.

•Turn off office equipment like computer speakers and monitors, printers and scanners.

•Consider placing all accessory devices on a power strip, which makes for a quick and easy one-switch turn-off.

•Follow the Army's policy on computers. Turn them off at the end of the day and on weekends.

•Take advantage of natural light. Turn off electric lights when sufficient natural light is available to perform tasks.

•Check items like shared printers, copiers and paper shredders. Printers and copiers should automatically switch to energy-saving mode after no more than 30 minutes of non-use. Call the computer department if these devices don't work properly.

•Keep air-conditioning thermostats set at 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep doors and windows closed when the A/C is on, to prevent mold and to conserve energy. If you have window A/C units without thermostats or temperature indicators, request a temperature card from the office's building energy monitor and place the card near the window unit.

•Turn off A/C units in unoccupied areas.

•In kitchen and bathroom areas, turn off lights and exhaust fans when not in use.

Energy conservation

For more information on conserving energy at USAG-HI, call the garrison's energy conservation manager at (808) 656-2922. For more conservation tips, visit www.garrison.hawaii.army.mil and click on "Sustainability and Environmental Management."

Page last updated Tue November 15th, 2011 at 00:00