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AETC Civil Engineers: energy savings ongoing despite budget cuts

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Clinton Atkins
  • Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs
Due to the current harsh fiscal climate and lack of appropriated funds, Air Education and Training Command Civil Engineers are faced with the daunting challenge to keep pace with federal mandates to reduce energy consumption by three percent annually.

AETC Energy Program's funding has seen a decline in funding from $11.7 million in fiscal year 2012 to $7.6 million in FY 2013 to no allocated funds in FY 2014. But that doesn't mean efforts to improve the energy efficiency of base infrastructure has come to a halt. By using an alternate means called third-party financing to award new energy-saving projects to contractors, civil engineers are continuing to drive towards energy conservation.

Third-party financing is where a contractor enters into an agreement to make upgrades to improve system efficiencies and absorbs all the costs of the upgrades up front. Over time, the contractor is paid with the savings that are generated by the improvements.
During the current fiscal year, AETC used third-party sourcing to pay for the cost of installing energy conservation measures including Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs) with energy service companies and Utility Energy Savings Contracts (UESCs) with utility companies.

Lt. Gen. James M. Holmes, AETC vice commander, stated in a memorandum encouraging use of third-party financing, "When managed properly, ESPCs and UESCs can be effective tools to help us achieve energy and water savings. AETC installations should use third-party financing options when potential cost savings are verifiable and other funding is not available."


Currently, AETC has awarded third-party financing projects at four separate bases: Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas; Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas; Maxwell AFB, Ala.; and Altus AFB, Okla. There are also ongoing efforts at additional bases in the design and review phase. These energy-saving efforts are projected to save $1.3 million annually and reduce consumption of electricity, water and natural gas. The third-party financing projects enabled the bases to makes upgrades to energy inefficient systems such as heating, cooling and water, as well as, infrastructure such as interior and exterior lightning.

"Third-party financing is beneficial to the Air Force as it requires no up-front costs and it drives down our energy consumption over time," said Capt. Ben Simon, acting AETC Command Energy manager. "With limited options to reduce energy consumption, this has become our most attractive option to meet reduction in energy consumption goals."
Annual savings of $2.5 million and $1.3 million were accrued in FY 2012 and FY 2013, respectively, through AETC energy-saving projects. However, the savings in FY 2014 are expected to be $1.03M, if the top 12 projects receive funding.

The managers of the energy-saving program said due to increased pressure to save energy annually and lack of funding to make it happen, it is now even more critical for each Airman to increase their energy conservation efforts.

"Individuals can have a tremendous impact on energy," said Bill Kelly, AETC Resource Efficiency manager. "Consider the following example: If every Airman turned off one set of lights for just one hour, once a day, the average base would save around $15,000 annually."

For more information about Air Force energy-saving efforts, and what individuals can do to reduce energy consumption, take a look at these fact sheets: General home and work, vehicles, Mobility Air Force, Combat Air Force, energy manager.