What is our role in energy conservation?

  • Published
  • By Larry Stevens
  • 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron
As members of the Air Force family and custodians of the tax payers' dollars, each and every one of us should be concerned about the wasteful use of energy. 

For years the Air Force has led the way in taking steps to avoid wasting energy in dorms and homes; now it's time to take the lead in energy conservation at work. Millions of dollars are spent annually to heat and cool every work space, from offices to hangars, from classrooms to hospitals. The actions we take can reduce those costs. 

Airmen living in dorms can "set-back" thermostats by adjusting the temperature up or down 6 to 8 degrees while you are away from your room. This provides regular savings during working hours and significant savings when you are away on weekends, temporary duty or leave. 

Many facilities have independent heating and air conditioning systems for offices, break rooms and briefing areas. These systems should be switched off when the rooms are unoccupied. If an area is occupied 10 hours a day, five days a week, 50 weeks per year, then the facility is only occupied 29 percent of the time, and tremendous savings can result from adjusting the temperature controls during unused hours. 

Most offices and areas have thermostats to control the temperature set points. The Air Force established recommended temperature "set points" at 69 degrees for heating and 75 degrees for cooling. Maintaining these recommended set points provide significant savings -- each degree difference in temperature can result in savings of 2 to 4 percent on your energy bill. 

We should not squander America's energy resources just because the cost isn't coming out of our own pockets. An estimated 20 percent of America's total electrical usage is wasted or being used inefficiently. We should do our part to eliminate waste by using efficient devices and simply switching off equipment when not being used. 

Conservation is more cost effective than building more power plants. Our actions may slow increases in our utility rates and preserve valuable resources for future generations.