By Douglas Demaio, IMCOMJuly 22, 2011
BAMBERG, Germany -- Rising energy costs are affecting installations' bottom line worldwide, but Warner Barracks is beating those rising costs by lowering its consumption.
In Bamberg, energy costs per unit have increased nearly 40 percent since 2006, yet lower energy consumption by residents has lead to just a 28.7 percent expense increase.
Technological improvements, creative thinking and community action have helped to achieve reductions in energy consumption, said Dieter Gerber, chief of the Operation and Maintenance Division for the Directorate of Public Works.
Warner Barracks is the lowest costing installation in Europe, said Guenther Graef, U.S. Army Garrison Bamberg Resource Management Officer.
"We are 5 percent of the population in Europe, but we only use 3 percent of the operational costs," Graef said.
Operational costs include utilities and maintenance, he said. The price tag per person is the lowest of all Installation Management Command Europe locations.
Warner Barracks' energy expenses in 2010 totaled more than $7.1 million, Gerber said. From fiscal year 2009 to 2010, Warner Barracks reduced its expenses by almost $1 million.
More than half of that savings is attributed to Warner Barrack's energy bill, Gerber said.
Energy will play a significant role in "shaping the future security environment," according to the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review. The Department of Defense has implemented energy efficiency into the Strategic Management Plan. Military leaders are trying to get their services to understand the importance of sensible energy consumption.
Gen. Peter Chiarelli, Army Vice Chief of Staff, said the military needs to change its approach on spending; energy expenses are an area that should be given much consideration.
"It is all about building into our Army an understanding that we need to be very, very careful of how we spend our money," Chiarelli said, leading up to the 2010 QDR. "It is all about developing a cost culture."
Reducing consumption can be difficult for the Army since most Soldiers' energy bills are paid for by the Army, but Warner barracks is doing well, said Isabelle Fahimi, DPW's Environmental Management Division.
Warner Barracks is moving in a wise path to lower energy consumption by instituting energy reductions policies and employing energy efficient technology.
The Freedom Fitness Facility staff does a good job at managing the facility's energy consumption using state-of-the-art technology, said Ernest Johnson, Bamberg's sports and fitness manager. Almost all of the post's energy reductions have little to do with air conditioning since few facilities have an AC unit, but one place that does is the FFF. Shutter panels on the exterior of the FFF are lowered and closed by staff when sunlight shines into the rooms, Johnson said. Using this technology keeps the rooms cool and reduces the need to use air conditioning, which reduces energy consumption and expenses.
Air conditioning is expensive, according to www.energystar.gov. AC units consume 50 percent of U.S. households' energy bills.
Closing the shutter panels during the winter months can have a reverse energy saving effect on heating expenses, according to the Department of Energy website. Some panels, like the ones on the exterior of the Freedom Fitness Facility, reduce winter heat loss by as much as 50 percent.
Although the FFF's staff has yet to implement this concept, Johnson said, improving energy-efficiency is a national defense goal and he would implement the concept.
Warner Barracks commander's policies are supporting defense goals of energy efficiency. Policies that require personnel to shutdown computers and lights overnight are procedures helping to reduce how the military is effectively spending taxpayer dollars.
An additional measure personnel can take to reduce energy consumption is turning lights off during the day when natural sunlight can illuminate a room, according to the Department of Energy website. When lights are used, energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs are the best to use.
The Directorate of Public Works has made energy-saving light bulbs available to residents of Warner Barracks at the Self-Help Store. These lights use 80 percent less electricity and last eight to ten times longer than conventional, incandescent bulbs, according to www.energy.eu, so the use should lower the installation's energy expenses.
More declines in the installation's operational costs are expected this year, Graef said, but to see it materialize, energy costs per unit and consumption will need to go down while energy awareness increases.
For more information on sensible energy consumption, visit www.energysavers.gov.