FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Small steps to using energy efficiently help prepare Soldiers, their Families and homes to "LiveArmyGreen."

Picerne Military Housing residents may help with using energy wisely and efficiently in their homes by taking a few small steps. Each small step saves energy, money and the Earth.

Change air filters

Changing the air filter is one of the most important tasks that will ensure the efficiency of air conditioners. Clogged, dirty filters block normal air flow and reduce a system's efficiency considerably. With normal air flow obstructed, air that bypasses the filter may carry dirt directly affecting the efficiency of the unit. Keeping the filter clean can lower air conditioners' energy consumption by up to 15 percent, said Michael Gregory, director of capital improvements, maintenance and purchasing.

"All Picerne Military Housing homes have central air units with a filtered return air vent. Common filter locations are in walls, ceilings, furnaces or in the air conditioner itself," said Gregory. "Most filters should be changed every 30 days. However, some of the newer, pleated-style filters have a longer filtration life."

Filters may need more frequent attention if the air is in constant use, is subject to dusty conditions, or if the home has fur-bearing pets. Picerne Military Housing provides economy filters to Families so their homes filter can be changed regularly. Filters are available at the neighborhood office. Check the filter size prior to picking up the filter. Sizes are located on the edge of the filter.

Operation Change Out

Operation Change Out is under way on Fort Rucker. The compact fluorescent light bulb replacement effort is to ensure energy is used wisely in all the homes on Fort Rucker.

"CFLs save everyone money," said Robert Frazier, Picerne community management director. "The added benefit to spending less on utilities is more funding. Less money to pay electricity means more funds available to support the ongoing construction and development of housing on Fort Rucker."

As new residents move into homes, CFL bulbs are installed. Since January 2009, over 31,000 CFL bulbs have been installed. If a resident is in need of a new CFL, the resident needs to bring the old bulb to his or her neighborhood office to receive a replacement.

Resident Responsibility Program

The LiveArmyGreen campaign is active in housing. In 2009, Fort Rucker began the mandated Department of Defense Resident Responsibility program. This program is based on placing the responsibility of energy conservation in the residents' hands. While the program's implementation has been met with some questions from residents, it has resulted in savings that allow the Rucker-Picerne partnership to reinvest the savings in the project at Fort Rucker.

This program will be implemented at every home as homes are improved. Once improved, the homes are grouped with like homes for comparison. The baseline is recalculated each month and based on usage; residents may pay for usage above the baseline or receive a refund for using their energy wisely. The baseline is the average amount of electricity used by like homes during a month.

Questions regarding the Resident Responsibility Program may be directed to the Residential Communities Initiative Office at 255-9230. Concerns regarding the maintenance of homes may be directed to the resident's neighborhood office.