By Island Palm Communities, U.S. Army Garrison-HawaiiNovember 15, 2011
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- From wind, sun and water power to geothermal advances and bioenergy, the global urgency to become more energy efficient has never been more apparent.
Wherever you go around the island, you're bound to see energy-efficient cars, solar panels on buildings and homes, and even windmills generating massive amounts of power.
"Everyone is doing their part to become more energy efficient, and the Department of Defense is at the forefront," said Col. Douglas Mulbury, commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii. "DOD has some aggressive but achievable goals for military installations to be more efficient in their use of energy, to conserve our natural resources and to be good stewards of the environment we live and work in."
At USAG-HI, one program that got underway in July is the Office of the Secretary of Defense policy that holds Soldiers and their families living in military residential communities responsible for their utilities.
The policy states that residents exceeding their baseline -- the average amount of energy used by homes in their profile -- are responsible for paying for excessive use.
The policy also states that residents coming under their baseline can receive a cash rebate.
More than 3,300 homes in Island Palm Communities are now receiving live utility statements, following a year of mock billing.
New residents are informed about the program upon signing their leases, which specifies their responsibility to pay for excessive utility use.
Following the August billing period, 17 percent of families received a rebate and 23 percent received a bill. Sixty percent of residents in live billing are successfully managing their use, receiving neither a credit nor a bill.
"It's good to see so many of our families doing their part to conserve," Mulbury said. "For families receiving a bill, I want to emphasize your obligation to pay it and encourage you to do so the month it becomes due. If you don't and continue to exceed the baseline, the amount owed will only increase."
A Soldier's command will be notified should a utility bill become 90 days past due. Additionally, the family will not be allowed to clear housing until any balance owed is paid.
Mulbury acknowledged that Hawaii's energy rates are among the highest in the nation, with a residential rate of 33 cents. However, IPC residents receive a discounted rate and no surcharges or taxes are added to their consumption statements.
"Our families are also living in some of the most energy-efficient homes on the island," Mulbury said.
Energy-efficient features can be found in the design of a home and materials used to build it, as well as its appliances.
"We have a great foundation in place, and I look forward to more families supporting an important DOD initiative to conserve energy and take advantage of the benefits the program offers," Mulbury said.
The Army is taking steps to reduce its total energy usage while increasing its use of renewable energy. This year, the Army began the Net Zero Installation initiative to bring total resource consumption (energy, water and waste) on an installation down to an effective rate of zero.
USAG-HI's sustainability initiatives include Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-, or LEED-, certified neighborhoods; photovoltaic solar-powered communities; and energy-efficient home design.
You can do your part:
Manage and view daily energy consumption online at www.esoems.com. Contact ista at (800) 569-3014 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to gain a better understanding of your energy use and consumption.