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FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- October marks Energy Action Month, and Fort Rucker is committed to bringing awareness to the importance of energy resiliency and providing ways we can become more energy resilient throughout the year.

This year, the Army’s theme is Power to Win.

But what is energy resiliency and why is it important? As defined by the Army, energy resiliency is the ability to anticipate, prepare for and adapt to changing conditions – and withstand, respond to and recover rapidly from power disruptions.

Currently, the Army is the largest consumer of electricity in the federal government, spending more than $1 billion annually on installation energy. Energy resiliency is important because energy plays a big role in supporting the Army’s mission through training and deployment, ensuring Soldiers are ready to fight and win the nation’s conflicts.

The Army depends on uninterrupted access to energy to support critical missions, and natural, physical and cyber threats continue to put its installations and energy infrastructures at risk. The Army is continuing to protect its assets from threats, such as the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline and the extreme weather conditions during Hurricane Ida.

The Army Installation Energy and Water Strategic Plan sets a vision and established goals, strategic objectives and targets to further efforts to build long-term resilience, efficiency and affordability.

* Resilience: Ensure energy and water for critical missions under all conditions.

* Efficiency: Optimize energy and water use to meet requirements effectively and sustainably.

* Affordability: Manage energy and water costs to enable the Army to refocus investment.

By taking steps to reduce our energy demand, we reduce our energy dependency, making us more energy resilient. In this article, you will find a simple formula to help you calculate energy costs and a few no-cost energy conservation tips to lower your own demand and the Army’s energy dependency.

To estimate how much it costs to operate a particular appliance, simply follow the four simple steps below.

1.      Determine the appliance’s wattage and convert it to kilowatts (divide watts by 1000).

2.      Figure out the number of hours you use the appliance on average.

3.      The cost per kilowatt is given to you, assuming $0.15 per kilowatt-hour.

4.      Calculate the operating cost. Multiply steps 1, 2, and 3.

For example, let’s look at 10-100 watt incandescent light bulbs. To find our total watts for 10 lights we would simply multiply 10 bulbs*100watts = 1000 watts.

STEP 1. 1,000 watts / 1,000 = 1 kW

STEP 2. Operating hours = 12 hours

STEP 3. Assuming $0.15 per kWh

STEP 4. 1 kW x 12 hours x $0.15 per kWh = $1.80 to operate these 10 lightbulbs for 12 hours

Now, looking over the course of a typical billing cycle (30 days) you may be paying $54 a month just on lighting ($1.80 a day times 30 days).

Ten-10 watt LED lights would give the equivalent lighting demands as the incandescent bulbs. Looking at the cost to operate, we would use the same steps.

STEP 1. 100 watts / 1,000 = 0.1 kW

STEP 2. Operating hours = 12 hours

STEP 3. Assuming $0.15 per kWh

STEP 4. 0.1 kW x 12 hours x $0.15 per kWh = $0.18 to operate these 10 lightbulbs for 12 hours.

Now, looking over the course of a typical billing cycle (30 days), you would be paying $5.40 for LED lighting versus the $54 for the incandescent lighting.

While Fort Rucker has many large-scale projects to help reduce the use of energy installation wide, there are also many things you can do in your own homes to help our mission. Here are a few tips to help save energy:

-          When shopping for new appliances for your home or office, look for the EnergyGuide and ENERGY STAR labels. These appliances provide the best overall energy ratings.

-         On sunny days, take advantage of natural light. Switch off artificial lights and use windows and skylights to brighten your home.

-         An estimated 5%-15% of household energy usage is from phantom loads. Reduce phantom loads by unplugging all electronics that are not being used.

-         On warmer days, keep the heat out of your home by using an outdoor grill instead of indoor ovens.

-         Replace incandescent lights with LEDs for desk lamps and overhead lighting. LEDs provide significant savings compared to incandescent lights.

-         Replace HVAC filters regularly. According to the DOE, replacing dirty filters with clean air filters can reduce your energy consumption up to 15%.

-         Wash your clothes using the cold water setting. Your washer uses about 90% of its energy heating up the water.

Be sure to check out more energy savings tips posted throughout the month of October on Fort Rucker’s Facebook page.

Corvias residents should direct any energy issues to their facilities team.

The energy team is not asking for anyone to compromise the mission or safety to conserve energy. However, when the opportunity presents itself, we ask that you use the information provided to help eliminate, or reduce your energy use. It is the responsibility of each individual to help meet the Army’s mission goals.

For more information, call the Fort Rucker Energy Program manager at 255-1368.