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Conserve energy, save money

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Some people can remember their parents telling them to 'turn the lights off when they leave the room' or 'close the door; you weren't raised in a barn.' Children don't pay bills so why would they worry about wasting energy?

As an adult, that mindset can change quickly paying the bill, and create more focus on how to save money. This is where proper energy knowledge can come in handy.

With proper energy knowledge Airmen can not only save money in energy costs for themselves but for the Air Force as well.

According to Ed Sidenstricker, base resource efficiency manager, the Air Force is the largest energy consumer in the Department of Defense. The DOD is the largest consumer of energy in the Federal Government and the Federal Government is the largest consumer of energy in the U.S.

"If you think you pay a lot for energy, imagine paying Nellis' bill of approximately $1 million per month," Sidenstricker said. "It's money that could be spent on our Airmen, their readiness or our weapons systems."

Since 2003 Nellis personnel have been working to lower the energy usage by 30 percent by financial year 2015.

"Over the last several years the 99th Civil Engineer Squadron energy team has performed many energy efficient projects such as replacing 32 boilers with high efficiency condensing boilers and installing heating ventilation and air conditioning monitoring controls in a large number of buildings on base," said Mr. Reginald Merriman, 99th CES energy project manager. "There [are] a number of energy conservation 'self-help' initiatives that can make a difference."

According to Jeffrey Blazi, base energy manager, there is a strong motivation for Air Force members to save energy since it saves the tax payer money. By saving energy service members and families will benefit from lower utility bills.

Replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs can save energy at the flip of a switch.

According to energy.gov, traditional incandescent light bulbs produce light through heat. Only 10 percent of the energy used is actually light. Fluorescent bulbs use only one-quarter to one-third of the energy of incandescent bulbs and last 10 to 15 times as long, therefore less energy is used.

Saving energy at work is one way Airmen can contribute to Nellis' energy conservation. There are many techniques that can be useful, some as simple as turning off energy wasteful equipment in the office at the end of the day.

Airmen could save energy by turning off computer monitors, printers, scanners and other office equipment at the end of each duty day.

"Many workers save energy by consolidating refrigerators and coffee machines," Blazi said. "One full refrigerator will use a lot less energy than three empty ones.

"Each refrigerator costs $150 per year to operate."

Refrigerators and AC units are among the largest energy users in the house and also very expensive to replace when they break. By vacuuming the coils underneath and on the back of your refrigerator annually and replacing your AC unit filter twice a year you will save significant energy and money.

Home and office building thermostats should be set no lower than 76 F during the cooling season and no higher than 69 F during the heating season in order to best conserve energy, according to Blazi.

"These easy maintenance items will also make your refrigerators and AC units last longer too," Blazi said.

Airmen should keep energy in mind with everything they do. "Each of us has an important part to play in conserving energy," Sidenstricker said.

If you have energy conservation questions, comments, or suggestions, please contact your Base Energy Manager Mr. Jeffrey Blazi at 702-652-7790 or Base Resource Efficiency Manager Mr. Ed Sidenstricker at 702-652-7786.

Editor's Note: Ed Sidenstricker, base resource efficiency manager contributed to the writing of this article.