Stewardship efforts help more than post
December 1, 2011
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- You don't need a math degree from MIT to understand the concept that saving energy equates to saving money. As taxpaying citizens, we always need to make sure that we scrutinize our costs so that the funding that is allocated to us is used to its maximum benefits.
It's just one of the many ways in which Fort Jackson community members can be good stewards. Let's focus for a moment on energy costs alone. Fort Jackson -- at last tally -- spends more than $15 million per year on its energy bills. That breaks down to about $1.25 million per month, or $42,000 per day.
Our garrison and its public works professionals are always looking for ways we can reduce our energy consumption and costs with electricity, water, gas and oil. Here's a prime example in which DPW recently stepped up to the plate and got the job done.
Fort Jackson's existing 2.26 million gallon thermal energy storage tank, located at central energy plant No. 2, was recently repaired. The repair allowed the tank to operate at its full potential. The results of the repair produces approximately $230,000 in cooling energy cost savings per year. Fort Jackson's electrical rates are approximately seven cents per kilowatt hour during peak times (1 p.m. to 9 p.m. every day) and four cents per kilowatt hour during non-peak times. The thermal energy storage tank is filled with cooling water during non-peak times (at the lower rate). The tank cooling water is used for building cooling during peak billing rate times, saving approximately three cents per kilowatt hour. Those pennies per hour add up.
Along those lines, consider that our installation, because of the volume of energy that it uses, can save a considerable amount of money by doing little things as well. As you may know, all of our computer work stations on post are set up to go to sleep during various times. This results in savings of about $200,000 a year, not an insignificant amount. It's been estimated that if the 10,000 or so people who work or live on Fort Jackson reduced their energy usage by a mere 10 percent, we could save millions of dollars each year. This money saved could in turn be used elsewhere in improving the quality of work areas, recreational facilities and equipment.
Let's focus outward for a minute and examine the energy objectives of the Army as a whole. In doing so, we realize that there are more than financial goals as far as energy usage is concerned. The Army is looking to reduce operational and installation energy demands because the enhancement of energy security is an operational necessity.
We must also be open-minded and receptive to new initiatives that might involve the use of propane and methanol fuel cells, solar-panel collectors and wind turbines as alternative energy sources. Our senior leaders are stressing that anything that we can do to reduce our costs is good for the Army and for the taxpayer. It's also important that we remain good stewards of the environment as well.
Our environmental policy requires that we implement programs that ensure compliance, prevent pollution, sustain natural and cultural resources and promote continual improvement. An integral part of the mission is to be a leader in environmental and natural resource stewardship.
The Army must continue to look at operational and installation energy demands, which it is doing. The Army has put together a task force to address a larger Army Renewable Energy Execution Plan, which will help reaffirm our commitment of being good stewards. But, once again, you can do your part by conserving energy and not wasting it. Here are a few tips on how to save energy to get you on point:
* Turn off lights, equipment and appliances when you leave a room or office.
* Keep doors and windows closed.
* Don't use space heaters unless they are authorized.
* Turn off all outside lights during the day or when they are not needed.
* Learn to recycle glass, plastic, aluminum and paper.
Your stewardship efforts will not only aid Fort Jackson; they will preserve our natural resources for generations to come. Together we can make a difference.
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