Power in personal practice means cost cuts

  • Published
  • By Headquarters Air Education and Training Command Energy Team
The Air Force and particularly Air Education and Training Command have made great progress toward reducing energy consumption and meeting the aggressive goals set by law, but there is still more to be done.

In December, Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. By law, federal facilities must reduce energy consumption by 3 percent annually and water consumption by 2 percent annually through 2015. By 2013, at least 7.5 percent of all energy used by federal facilities must come from renewable sources such as solar or wind power.

While individual users may find it hard to increase renewable source energy, simply resolving to change personal habits can make energy conservation easier.

Individuals can make the following energy resolutions:

1. Turn off electronic equipment when not in use - stereos, video equipment, computers, monitors and printers consume electricity, even in "sleep" mode.

2. Make sure personal items such as radios, coffee pots, televisions, fans, etc. are turned off when unattended for more than 30 minutes.

3. Turn off lights when leaving a room. Office lights are typically left on more than 10 hours per day while the typical office is occupied for only eight. If only 10 percent of the 3 million people employed by the Department of Defense turned off lights when leaving for lunch, the Federal government could save more than $1.2 million per year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

4. Keep exterior doors and windows closed. According to the DOE, more than half of a building's energy cost is in heating and cooling. Keep the conditioned air inside and the unconditioned air outside.

5. Recycle and re-use items wherever possible.

6. Report leaking faucets. Drips falling at a rate of one drop per second waste 2,700 gallons of water per year.

7. Change an incandescent bulb to a compact fluorescent -- 90 percent of the energy consumed by an incandescent light bulb is wasted.

8. Watch the thermostat -- in winter, each heating degree lower saves about 3 percent of the heating costs, according to the DOE.

9. Purchase "Energy Star" labeled appliances and equipment.

10. Resolve to make a difference.