WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii -- Hawaii's yearlong tropical environment creates conditions for Soldiers, family members and civilian employees to use energy more than average.

In 2014, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii spent more than $90 million on its energy bill. This amount largely reflects the fact that much of Hawaii's energy comes from imported oil.

Year-round air conditioning and Hawaii's higher cost of living also contribute to the bill.

Last October, the 25th Infantry Division implemented an energy program that applies to all garrison personnel and activities.

"I am personally committed to sustaining our natural and fiscal resources by ensuring that each of us in the Army community in Hawaii participates in the effort to conserve energy and water," said Maj. Gen. Charles Flynn, U.S. Army Hawaii senior commander and 25th ID commander. "Through a building energy monitoring program (BEM) and each individual's simple and basic actions, we can reduce our energy use by up to 10 percent."

All units and directorates on garrison installations will designate a unit energy conservation officer (UECO) and, for each building, a BEM.

UECOs serve as points of contact and are responsible for energy and water conservation efforts. UECOs will designate a BEM for each unit's building and oversee their weekly building inspections. When relevant, UECOs will advise the rear detachment commander on the unit's deployment barracks plan, and work together to reduce energy costs by consolidating Soldier living quarters and office space.

BEMs will conduct weekly hands-on and walk-through inspections. They will ensure the following:
- Ensure that air conditioning temperatures are set at 74 degrees Fahrenheit (during summer months);
- Turn off lights and computers when not in use;
- Request energy-saving light bulbs, when applicable;
- Emphasize full laundry loads in the barracks; and
- Monitor grass watering at 5 p.m.-9 a.m.

All BEMs are encouraged to work directly with the DPW work order section in order to streamline energy-inefficient issues, like reporting broken doors, windows and light sensors.

Energy conservation and practicing energy efficiency is becoming increasingly important throughout the DOD and the country. The very fact that Congress is shrinking the Army by 40,000 Soldiers by the end of fiscal year 2018 -- 1,214 reduced on Schofield Barracks -- is a direct indication that saving money to reduce the national deficit is paramount to the nation's national security posture.

Conserving energy is not just the DOD's responsibility; it's everyone's responsibility. Simply put, it is the right and necessary thing to do.

-- Tips & Training

To put in a work order or learn the status of an existing order, contact the DPW Service Work Order desk. Customers may visit 947 Wright Ave, Wheeler Army Airfield, Bldg. 104, 1st floor. Service order hours of operation are weekdays, 6 a.m.-5 p.m. Call (808) 656-1275.

(Editor's note: Santiago recently became the garrison energy conservation manager, responsible of implementing and supervising the BEM program. The DPW BEM manager is responsible for conducting BEM training, and day or night unit energy conservation audits.)