WIESBADEN, Germany - Just as individuals play a role in saving energy, organizations also have ways of better using available resources. That's one of the reasons why the Army's Installation Management Command regularly audits installations to see how energy use is monitored, to eliminate inefficiencies and to seek ways to reduce costs.
"We're required to do an assessment on a yearly basis of 25 percent of our facilities," said Ernst Kusiak, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Directorate of Public Works energy manager. "As the energy manager for the garrison, I pick the buildings to analyze -- those that might have a problem, have a high consumption or may be newly constructed buildings."
Lyman Parkhurst, an energy auditor with Sain Engineering Associates, Inc., spent a week in Wiesbaden Jan. 25 to Feb. 1, conducting an energy awareness and conservation assessment and reviewing the garrison facilities to determine ways to improve energy and water resource use.
"The idea is that we look at a range of building types," Parkhurst said. That includes "areas where there were inefficiencies during our 2009 visit" and "to see what progress has been made and what are the latest changes with the garrison facilities."
"He's not here to punish us -- he's here to help us," said Kusiak, explaining that overall the Army has directed that all garrisons reduce energy consumption to save money and resources.
"It's a continuous improvement process," said Parkhurst. With equipment changing dramatically over the course of time, technological improvements and major transformation in USAG Wiesbaden, it's critical that energy managers consistently re-examine how systems operate, he said.
"If you leave it up to the customers, most do not grasp the impact of not conserving energy because they don't have to pay for it," said Kusiak, pointing out as an example the new General Shalikashvili Mission Command Center that, although having been constructed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver standards and if the facility is not operated efficiently it is possible to consume significantly more energy than as was designed -- or take the example of an airfield hangar wasting heat energy if the hangar doors are left wide open when they could be closed.
"One of the first things we look at during an audit is, what will the operational hours be," said Kusiak, pointing out that reducing heat and turning off lights in office buildings when not in use are major cost and energy savers.
"There are two parts to the audit process," said Parkhurst. "They include immediate corrections and future improvements requiring funding." Setting up systems where heat can be recovered and re-used is another part of the process, he said.
"This helps us by showing us ways where we can make improvements, gives us recommendations for future changes, how to educate our tenant units and the training needed of our local units to reduce energy consumption," said Kusiak. "We get feedback for improvements and identify areas where we are already successful."
Giving the issue command emphasis -- an official report to the commander -- helps communicate the need for community organizations and tenant units to also put more of an effort into saving energy, said the auditor.
What are immediate ways everyone can play a role in saving energy and cutting costs?
"The easiest thing is lights. We see external lights on during the day and doors left wide open," said Parkhurst. "It's really the simple things. While housing residents know that they should air out their rooms occasionally -- windows should be left open for up to an hour during the heating season -- not all day as was observed in several apartments and offices."
With heat costing as much as five times what it costs in the United States, it is particularly critical that everyone do all he or she can to save where possible, he said, adding that last year USAG Wiesbaden spent $21.9 million on utilities, including water.
"Initially it really costs the Army, not the customer," said Jeff Scott, maintenance supervisor for the Wiesbaden Army Lodge, during a visit by the audit team. "It doesn't come out of their pockets, but it really costs us all. The money saved on energy could be applied to other garrison quality of life programs if everyone did his or her part."