Energy conservation matters
By Brig. Gen. Susan Helms, 45th Space Wing commander
/ Published May 11, 2007
May 11, 2007 -- The question of who pays for utilities used by one of our mission partners came up last week. Someone volunteered that we - the 45th Space Wing - did not pay these costs because they are reimbursable. Therefore, it really does not matter how much electricity they use. Wrong answer!
These days energy conservation greatly matters as our "blue" Air Force is turning "green" in many ways. Both the Secretary and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force addressed this topic in recent communications to the field.
In a Sept. 6, 2006 Letter to Airmen, Secretary Michael W. Wynne wrote, "Under the auspices of AFSO 21, I ask every Airman to make energy use a priority and bring forth ideas on how we can be more efficient in its use."
In the March 9 edition of "The Enlisted Perspective," Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley wrote, "Through our personal actions, we can save dollars earmarked for energy expenditures. The Air Force dollars we save will more than likely be invested in our quality of life programs, weapons systems or research and development."
The 45th Space Wing is on the cutting edge of our Air Force's renewable energy program. Much of the energy that powers our station on Ascension Island is generated by the wind and the sun. Here at Patrick and the Cape, many of our government vehicles are fueled by E-85 - motor fuel blends of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Ethanol is an environmentally friendly alternative fuel that enhances the nation's economy and energy independence.
While most of you do not have any direct control over what types of fuel we use for government vehicles or identifying renewable energy sources, I ask that in your daily routines in and around our housing, work and recreation areas each of you to be an active participant in our Air Force's drive to save energy.
Saving energy is good for the environment and it is good policy. Funds not spent on utilities can be better used on other critical base and warfighter needs. Efficiency efforts serve as a hedge on future increases in energy costs.
With that in mind, the 45th SW will soon implement its own energy awareness program. It has been documented that a well-coordinated Energy Awareness Program (EAP) can generally reduce consumption by 10 percent base wide. This would constitute a $2.4 million savings at PAFB/CCAFS.
The goal of the EAP will be to provide for a low-cost high-impact method to reduce energy consumption and increase efficiency. The program may consist of an EAP logo and slogan contest, energy tips and articles in base publications, base-wide e-mails, posters and handouts at high-visibility areas and briefs to facility managers.
If you will follow the program, you and your family can have a big impact in our Air Force's efforts to save energy. Thanks for all you do!