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Keep our economy strong; use energy wisely

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Energy is the lifeblood of industry and the economy. It is how we produce, transport and utilize goods and services which drive the economic engine.

Most of us who are sufficiently "seasoned" became acutely aware of how energy use affects the US economy with the Arab oil embargo of 1973. This not only brought high gasoline prices and rationing, but caused higher prices in most goods and services in addition to a stock market crash.

Not quite as dramatic, but history did repeat itself during the Gulf War and Hurricane Katrina, where oil prices spiked and the economy tanked.

When the U.S. Department of Energy was created in 1977, its primary mission was to reduce our reliance on foreign energy sources. Ironically, our dependence has increased from approximately 45 percent to more than 57 percent since then.

Here at Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the 45th Civil Engineer Squadron has undertaken several projects to both reduce our energy  consumption and strengthen our economy.

For instance, replacing the boilers at the CCAFS Cafeteria with instantaneous water heaters cost only $195,000 and will yield an annual savings of $77,646. On Patrick AFB, the decommissioning and replacement of the central steam plant yielded a savings $350,000 and two million kilowatt hours per year. These projects have pumped more than $3.5 million into the local economy.

We all know that our best weapon against foreign energy dependence is to reduce the amount of energy we consume. Energy efficiency reduces cost, increases competitiveness and creates jobs, which improves economic security. By  reducing our demand, we can help the United States, Patrick Air Force Base and our own personal "economy" recover.

Be sure to turn off electrical devices when not in use, purchase energy efficient equipment, and report any energy issues (clogged filters, broken door seals, etc.) to facility management. Please do your part to make energy efficiency a consideration in everything that you do. Your efforts are appreciated.