Energy Action Month
During Energy Action Month and throughout the year, Joint Base Lewis-McChord strives to improve energy resilience. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Every October, the armed forces puts a special focus on energy awareness to highlight the critical role energy plays in operations. Smart energy use and management is encouraged for installations, ground vehicles and aircrafts to ensure mission capabilities and address climate change. This year's theme is “Power to Win.”

For Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the focus is on energy resiliency: being able to carry out the mission during emergencies. The JBLM Installation Energy and Water Strategic Plan sets a vision for energy and water infrastructure to enable readiness and resilience as well as efficiency and affordability.

“JBLM ensures that we incorporate energy efficiency through a strategic lens of resilience, efficiency and affordability, while not compromising the mission,” said Matt Schreck, Energy program manager with JBLM Directorate of Public Works’ Environmental Division. “As the saying goes, ‘The Stone Age did not end because we ran out of stones;’ we transitioned to better solutions.’”

Energy and water are vital to the forces, whether the troops are deployed or in garrison. In Fiscal 2021, JBLM paid $15.7 million, an average of $43,000 per day, for electric, natural gas and fuel oil.

Service members and staff are critical in helping the installation reduce utility costs and achieve energy and water goals, Schreck said, noting climate change is a direct threat to military operations and readiness.

One way the armed forces is addressing climate change is by emphasizing energy and water conservation and resilience. Some effects of climate change may be unavoidable, but with improved infrastructure and resilient installations, Schreck said JBLM can minimize operational impacts and maintain readiness.

“Energy efficiency and resiliency is about using your resources effectively. Sustainable practices are about optimizing – not compromising,” he said.

Although JBLM is working hard on big projects – such as the decentralization of heating plants and installing smaller high-efficiency boilers instead – there are steps everyone can take to contribute to the mission. Small changes in behavior by everyone can have a big impact, Schreck said.

Here are a few tips from energy.gov:

  • Install and set a programmable thermostat. Save an estimated 10% per year on heating and cooling costs by using a programmable thermostat. JBLM energy policy: Facility temperatures are set no higher than 70 degrees for heating in winter and no lower than 74 degrees for cooling in summer.
  • Use sunlight to your advantage. On average, home lighting accounts for 10 to 15% of the energy bill. Be sure to flip the switch off when leaving a room.
  • Use an electronic power strip for your electronic equipment. Save up to $100 a year and help reduce phantom loads by plugging electronic devices into a power strip, and turn it off when not in the room.
  • Replace old light bulbs with LEDs. By replacing 25% of lights in high-use areas with LEDs, homeowners can cut their lighting costs in half – $3 to $7 per bulb.
  • Reduce energy for water heating. Take simple steps, like lowering your water heater’s temperature and installing low-flow showerheads, to reduce your water heating bills. Water heating typically accounts for 16% of a home energy bill.
  • Seal leaks and cracks – especially around windows and doors. Poorly-sealed homes allow heated air to escape through gaps. Caulking and weather stripping lowers energy bills.
  • Position furniture in the home for optimal comfort. Make sure furniture is placed next to inside walls instead of outside walls and away from drafty windows. Avoid blocking heat registers and returns with furniture, draperies or carpet.
  • Check and replace furnace and air conditioner filters. Replace furnace and air conditioner filters every 30 days to maximize its operating efficiency. A dirty filter makes the equipment work harder to push air through it.

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