FORT STEWART, Ga. - On January 7, 2007, the President signed Executive Order 13423. The new EO raises the standard for federal leadership and performance in several areas including energy conservation. It requires agencies to reduce energy consumption by three percent each year, leading to 30 percent less by FY 2015.

The three percent savings is equivalent to about 60,000, 60-watt light bulbs. Fort Stewart has been working diligently toward achieving its energy goals and objectives. Its current energy consumption is about 20 percent less than what it was in base line year 2003. Despite this magnificent achievement, more effort is still needed to achieve the 30 percent energy reduction goal.

Electricity consumed for lighting typically constitutes just under 10 percent of the household energy budget. One way to reduce that number is to replace frequently used incandescent lights with the newer technology compact fluorescent light bulbs. Not only do compact fluorescents last about 10 times as long, these long-lasting bulbs use about one third of the power required to produce the same amount of light that is produced by a standard incandescent bulb.

The CFLs offer other advantages, too. Standard incandescents give off a substantial amount of heat. Just ask someone who has tried to unscrew a blown bulb with bare fingers after it has failed. That heat, while perhaps welcome in the winter, makes the air conditioner work harder, which consumes more electricity during the summer. And a hot bulb is a mark of inefficiency. Any electricity used to produce heat is not going toward the production of illumination.

On the other hand, CFLs run cool; they don't contribute to heating load and can be used safely in any fixture that can handle an incandescent -- except those controlled by a dimmer switch.
Older versions of CFLs had a few problems, such as unattractively colored light, noise, flickering, and slow startup. Those issues have largely been resolved in the bulbs currently on the market. The light color is similar to that produced by an incandescent bulb, and electronic ballasts produce flicker-free and noiseless light.

Moreover, the new bulbs start right up when switched on -- though they may require a few minutes to achieve full brightness. New CFL bulb shapes mean you can put a CFL anywhere an incandescent can go; the bulb shapes have become more compact and "standard-size" over the years.

The price of CFLs has fallen in recent years as well, from double digits to under three dollars each when purchased in multi-packs or on sale. That's still more than incandescents, but with a projected bulb life of as much as 10,000 hours compared to an incandescent's 800 to 1,000, the economics greatly favor CFLs over standard incandescents.

So in the long run they're a bargain. Plus they save a lot of electricity along the way. An 11-watt model can replicate the light produced by a 60-watt incandescent. That's a savings of 49 watts per hour of operation! Multiply that by the number of lights in your home and their hours of operation, and you'll quickly realize that CFLs are not only the light of the future but also of today. Use compact fluorescent lights instead of incandescent bulbs whenever you can.

Here are some additional tips what you can do to help meet the energy goals. Turn off all unused electrical appliances when you leave the room. Do not leave television, radio, lighting, or computer on when you vacate your rooms. Energy conservation is every good citizen's responsibility.

The main point of contact for Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield is the Energy Engineering Office, which is under the direction of DPW. To discuss any ideas or questions you have concerning energy conservation or the program itself, the energy office can be reached at 912-767-5034.