Army Energy Action Month: Changes conserve energy, save money
Energy conservation graphic (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT CARSON, Colo. — October is Army Energy Action Month, which is tied to National Energy Awareness Month observed across the country. The Army’s 2022 Energy Action Month theme is “Energy Resilience: sustain the mission – secure the future.”

The Army’s energy focus is to be a resilient and sustainable land force able to operate in all domains.

“The Army is really taking a strong stance on the environmental front by mandating zero carbon emission energy by 2050,” said Sean Bogren the Fort Carson Directorate of Public Works energy manager. “We understand that technology will need to catch up with requirements, but Fort Carson remains focused on being a driver toward obtaining resilient, clean energy.”

Although Fort Carson derives a signification portion of its energy from renewable sources such as hydropower and solar, and continually seeks to grow its renewable energy portfolio, overall annual utility costs are sizeable.

In fiscal 2021, Fort Carson paid approximately $26.6 million for electric, natural gas and water use. Soldiers and staff are critical in helping the installation reduce utility costs and achieve energy and water goals.

The following information, published with permission from Colorado Springs Utilities, provides useful information for Fort Carson community members to help reduce their energy-related costs during October and throughout the year.

Top 10 tips under $10

Being more energy efficient does not have to be expensive or difficult. Colorado Springs Utilities, Fort Carson’s utility provider, made it easy by creating “top 10 tips under $10”. Small energy behavior changes like the ones listed below can add up to large energy overall savings:

1. Turn the thermostat down in the winter and up in the summer.

In the winter, keep thermostats at 68 degrees when at home (put a sweater on if it gets chilly) and 60 degrees when not at home or sleeping. During the summer, set the air conditioner thermostat to 78 degrees when at home and 85 degrees when away. (Fort Carson 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.) (Free)

2. Turn off lights in empty rooms.

On average, home lighting accounts for 10 to 15% of the energy bill. Be sure to flip the switch when leaving a room. (Free)

3. Microwave food, use a toaster oven or grill rather than a conventional oven.

Avoid using a large conventional oven when cooking small portions of food. Microwaves and toaster ovens use much less energy and can cook foods just as well. In the summer, use an outdoor grill. (Free)

4. Wash only full loads of dishes and laundry.

Helps conserve the amount of natural gas used to heat the water that a dishwasher and washing machine need. People will not only be saving energy, but water too. (Free)

5. Use the sun and window coverings to control the temperature in the home.

Open window coverings on sunny days to let in the sun’s warmth. Close them at night or on cloudy days to keep the cold air out. Use draperies, blinds, curtains or shutters on all windows to slow the loss of heat through the glass. (Free)

6. Adjust the temperature on the water heater.

Water heating typically accounts for 16% of a home energy bill. Set water heater temperatures no higher than 120 degrees. (Free)

7. 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. (Free)

8. Seal leaks and cracks especially around windows and doors.

Poorly sealed homes allow heated air to escape through gaps. Caulking and weather-stripping reduce uncomfortable drafts and lower energy bills. ($10)

9. 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)

10. Check and replace furnace and A/C 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. ($10)