By Robin Hibler, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Energy ConservationOctober 25, 2010
WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii - "I don't have any control over energy savings; that's the Army's business, not mine."
This comment might be heard in any office or home throughout the U.S. Army. However, the reality is that everyone has control over the quantity of energy used, and everyone has a responsibility to make smart energy choices.
Money spent on wasted electricity and water can be better spent on quality-of-life projects to improve conditions for Soldiers, family members and civilians. The best strategies for energy saving can be summed up in one statement: If it's not being used, turn it off.
Saving energy at work starts with your office cubicle or desk space. Before leaving for meetings, lunch or at the end of the day, check the status of your work environment, including these areas:
Aca,!AcTurn off task lighting usually placed under a bookshelf, above the desk. If there are multiple task lights above the desk space, or lights for a separate office space, turn on only the lights that are needed.
Aca,!AcTurn off electric desk accessories items like radios, stereos, plugged-in calculators and personal fans. In addition, turn off each of these items when they are not being used during the day.
Aca,!AcTurn off office equipment like computer speakers and monitors, printers and scanners.
Aca,!AcConsider placing all accessory devices on a power strip, which makes for a quick and easy one-switch turn-off.
Aca,!AcFollow the Army's policy on computers. Turn them off at the end of the day and on weekends.
Aca,!AcTake advantage of natural light. Turn off electric lights when there is sufficient natural light to perform tasks.
Aca,!AcCheck items like shared printers, copiers and paper shredders. Printers and copiers should automatically switch to energy-saving mode after no more than 30 minutes of non-use. Call the computer department if these devices don't work properly.
Aca,!AcKeep air-conditioning thermostats set at 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep doors and windows closed when the AC is on, to prevent mold and to conserve energy. If you have window AC units without thermostats or temperature indicators, request a temperature card from the office's building energy monitor (BEM) and place the card near the window unit.
Aca,!AcTurn off AC units in unoccupied areas.
Aca,!AcIn kitchen and bathroom areas, turn off lights and exhaust fans when not in use.
Aca,!AcPer Army regulation, no personal-sized refrigerators are allowed in the workplace. Each employee is allotted one cubic foot of refrigerator space. Yet most kitchen refrigerators are 15 cubic feet, enough for 15 people. One 15-cubic-foot fridge costs less to run than two personal-sized refrigerators.
Submit a service order to the Directorate of Public Works if you observe a water leak or obvious signs that sprinklers are broken or out of adjustment, or if you see water running down a road or gutter. Likewise, submit a work order if you observe outside lighting that is on during the day. Work orders may be submitted at www.dpw.hawaii.army.mil or by calling 808-656-1275.
If everyone makes each of these tasks a habit, we will go far in conserving energy. Along with BEMs, who oversee energy conservation awareness in their assigned buildings, all Soldiers, family members and civilians are asked to be the eyes and ears of energy conservation, to assist in reducing electrical and water consumption and waste.
For more information on conserving energy at U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, contact the garrison's energy conservation manager at 808-656-3072.
(Editor's Note: This article appeared in the Hawaii Army Weekly's Oct. 22 special insert on sustainability. Click here to view the entire 8-page feature.)