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News > Saving energy critical, easy with more sun
Saving energy critical, easy with more sun

Posted 4/11/2013   Updated 4/11/2013 Email story   Print story


by Chris McCann
JBER Public Affairs

4/11/2013 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Employees are looking at a furlough, some aircraft are grounded, morale shows are postponed or canceled, and Congress is trying to come up with and pass a budget.

It all comes down to how much money is being spent - and while shutting off your monitor at night seems like a drop in the ocean, when it's combined with all the monitors in all of the U.S. military installations around the world, it adds up to a lot of cash.

The natural gas reserves in Cook Inlet - which supply not only JBER but all of Southcentral Alaska - are not infinite. In fact, in October, the area was already dipping into reserves.

If the bitter cold had continued, there might have been brownouts, said Richard Hiatt, JBER energy conservation manager.

Ultimately, even electricity comes from natural gas in this area, so conservation is critical. It powers lights, heat, your water heater and most other things.

Little energy-saving choices can add up; doing a few things every day to save energy can help the installation, the community and the military as a whole.

While energy conservation has been an issue for years, there is a continuing - and more critical - push.

In many of JBER's old buildings, steam heat is on constantly in the winter. People open windows to cool things down - and all too often leave them open overnight, said Sonny Turpin, JBER utility engineer. Ensuring windows are closed for the night and lights, monitors and other electric appliances are off is important.

"Even in standby, those things use electricity," Turpin said.

Consolidating break room refrigerators is another step, and turning off overhead lights and using desk or task lighting can be another.

Facility managers, as part of their training, receive a separate conservation portion, Hiatt said. Conservation personnel can retrieve building energy use records and go over them with facility managers to find out where use is elevated and ways they can reduce overall use.
At home - on post or not - be sure to turn things off when you're not using them. Microwave ovens are more efficient than traditional ovens.

The JBER Energy Policy letter states that Executive Order 13514 requires the installation to reduce its facility energy use  per square foot by three percent a year through 2015, and it is everyone's responsibility to help achieve that milestone.

Now that days are lengthening, the sun can help save a lot of money, Turpin said. Opening the blinds can supply all the necessary light.

"We're not saying to work in the cold or dark," he clarified. "Just do the practical things."
Increasingly, the Air Force is trying to increase the supply and use of renewable energy.
The JBER Landfill Gas Waste to Energy Plant began operations January 2013 and generates more than 56,000 megawatt hours or 26.2 percent of JBER's electrical load, said Tim Berg, 673d Civil Engineer Squadron asset optimization chief.

The Anchorage Municipal Solid Waste Landfill - adjacent to JBER - collects and burns landfill gas to comply with EPA regulations. With the new plant, the methane is no longer just burned off, it provides a lot of power which is converted to energy. It can only supply JBER-Richardson, but that side of JBER has reduced its electrical needs from Municipal Light and Power by half.

Another energy-saver is water - it requires electricity to pump, clean and heat. By reducing water usage, consumers can reduce the energy needed.

Old sodium lights can be replaced with energy-efficient LEDs, which save huge amounts of power.

Every October, the Energy Watch exercise asks residents of the Anchorage and JBER communities to drastically reduce their energy consumption for two hours, as a drill in case of a shortage (such as severely low temperatures).

During the exercise, consumers can turn their water heaters to the 'vacation' setting, refrain from doing laundry, and turn the thermostat down.

For more energy-saving tips, or for help making your workplace more energy-efficient, contact the Energy Conservation office at 384-6644.

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