Energy efficiency
Using an energy efficient light bulb helps reduce energy consumption and is is a small step toward reducing costs and protecting our planet.

HOHENFELS, Germany -- With sequestration and furloughs looming on the horizon, installations everywhere are tightening their belts. Measures are being taken across the board to use resources and cut unnecessary spending. But beyond budget cuts and curtailing of various initiatives, significant funds to help maintain vital programs like family services may be hiding out in your office.

At Hohenfels, the leadership is setting the example. Energy conservation measures have been initiated in both the Joint Multinational Readiness Center and garrison headquarters buildings which are projected to save almost $7,000 this year.

While that may not seem like a significant sum, as Paul Hlawatsch, Directorate of Public Works energy manager, pointed out, that is only from two buildings.

"There are more than 200 buildings on post. It is possible we could save $500,000 per year on energy costs," Hlawatsch said.

Measures included simple things such as consolidating refrigerators and printers, programming water heaters to only run during the day, and ensuring that appliances are turned off at night. Though the measures are small, collectively they make a big impact.

"Each watt used equals one euro per year," said Hlawatsch. "So a single 18-watt bulb costs more than $20 a year."

This seemingly miniscule savings can multiply dramatically when one considers a two-story office building. With this in mind, the headquarters buildings also disabled 50 percent of their light fixtures, leaving intact the fixtures directly over the desks.

"Light level was not reduced in the area of the workplace," Hlawatsch said.

Hlawatsch said that with the projected savings, the initiative will pay for itself within a month. He added that the savings calculated do not include the additional benefit of reduction of operation and maintenance costs.

"I'm sure that there are additional savings possible," said Hlawatsch, citing such ideas of systems to regulate heat, controlling lights in stairwells with motion sensors, reducing the number of bulbs per fixture and changing to LED bulbs.

With headquarters leading the way, other buildings will soon follow. Hlawatsch said the next step is to prioritize according to consumption, focusing on buildings with high energy use. But, as Hlawatsch pointed out, the biggest resource is the consumers themselves.

"People need to change their behavior," he said. "Even in power saver mode, appliances draw energy. It's an easy thing to turn them off."

For example, the average cost of running a computer for 24 hours is $1.50. With more than 6,000 computers in the Bavarian Military Community workplaces, that's an average cost of $9,000 a day or $324,000 per year. Simply turning off computers at night can save the BMC more than $163,000 annually.

Additionally, Hlawatsch said that the monitor alone is responsible for 60 percent of a computer's energy consumption.

"If you know you have an appointment for two or three hours, it's very easy just to shut your monitor off," he said.

"If everyone changes their behavior just a little bit, we could achieve big improvements."

Page last updated Tue February 26th, 2013 at 00:00