SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Utilities conservation (water, electricity and propane) has a new leader in U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii (USAG-HI): Robin Hibler. Assigned to the Directorate of Public Works (DPW), Utilities Division, Hibler is the face for conservation efforts and is responsible for a vast majority of Army buildings in Hawaii. With a roughly $68 million electricity bill, which is $15 million over budget, USAG-HI will begin enforcing some simple, but much-needed, common-sense policies aimed at reducing utility consumption on all Army installations in Hawaii. Some of the most common violations that have been found so far include leaving equipment on at night and when people are out of the area/office for an extended time. "Would you leave the air conditioning and lights on at home when you are paying the electric bill'" Hibler asked. "Do you realize as taxpayers you are paying the government\'s electricity bill'" When you leave an office for more than five minutes, turn off the lights and your computer monitor. Chances are high you will be gone longer than you plan, Hibler said. The old myth about it being cheaper to leave a light on rather than turning it off and on again is just that, myth. It is not true. This fact holds true for pretty much any piece of electric equipment, including air conditioning, so turning things off will result in savings. "Energy audits both during the day and at night are now being conducted, looking for utilities waste. Let's make it hard to find any," said Hibler. New policies include a computer shutdown policy, the Building Energy Monitor program and lighting retro-fits. Computer Shutdown Policy. Previously, computers were left on to allow updates at night. As of July 1, however, the policy is to turn computers off at night. Updates will happen when you turn the computer on in the morning. This method will save the Army more than $500,000 per year in electricity costs. Building Energy Monitor (BEM) Program. The BEM program assists ongoing efforts within the Army to get people to think about utility conservation in their everyday work. A major part of the program is assigning someone to be the monitor to every building. The BEM is responsible for ensuring energy-saving measures are being enforced in each building and to provide regular reports showing how well people within their area are doing. Expected savings from these efforts exceed $1 million per year. "To most people, the utilities at work are 'free,' since they do not directly pay the bill," Hibler said. "We are working hard to change that mindset and get people to turn lights, air conditioning and office equipment off when not in use." Lighting Retro-fits. Employees can also help by minimizing the lighting they use each day. Only light up the areas needed and use controls such as occupancy sensors, photo sensors and timers to turn off lighting when not needed. Offices can also upgrade to new lighting technologies that are more efficient, but still provide adequate lighting. Best Practices. Hibler encourages employees to adopt the following energy-saving measures: Aca,!AcDon't leave doors or windows in air-conditioned rooms/buildings open.
Aca,!AcSet air conditioner thermostats no lower than 74 degrees.
Aca,!AcMake sure water leaks are reported so they can be repaired.Aca,!AcRun sprinkler systems at night to minimize evaporation. "These are simple things many of us do at home, but many people do not think about it in the work environment," said Hibler. "None of these actions happen without some effort, and we all need to take these measures to heart," Hibler added.