Green Days help Air Force, Offutt reduce energy costs

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Brian D. Donnelly
  • 55th Force Support Squadron
Energy conservation efforts are critical for the base, as we currently have a $600,000 gap that has to be closed between energy expenses and allocated funds for energy. The Green Days Initiative sprung from a focused effort by 55th Mission Support Group leadership to conserve energy and reduce the group's impact on the environment, while still maintaining high quality support for Offutt AFB.

In order to save energy and be more efficient, Bldg. C has implemented a green initiative. The initiative reduces the number of days the building requires full heat, light and power by 10-percent, but still allows it to be open for the same number of hours overall each year. This is because the thermostat is kept constant during the work week, regardless of how late people work, but is throttled back greatly over weekends or other periods when the building is unoccupied for multiple days in a row. For every two week period, people within Bldg. C will work longer hours for eight days, normal duty hours for one day, and then be off every other Friday. In addition to reducing energy consumption, the green days keep more cars off the road, thereby reducing air pollution and gasoline consumption.

Reducing energy usage is very important for the Air Force. In Fiscal Year 2006, the Department of Defense spent $14.6 billion on fuel, energy, heating and water. To put this nearly $15 billion expense in perspective, it's estimated that the incremental cost of one new F-22 Raptor is approximately $138 million. This would mean that a $15 billion per year expenditure on fuel and energy would be enough to purchase 108 F-22 fighter jets.

Energy reduction efforts are being driven by national-level policy. Executive Order 13423, signed by then President George W. Bush, mandated that the DOD must continue to reduce its facility based energy consumption by 3-percent annually, or by 30-percent overall, through the end of fiscal year 2015.

What can you do to reduce energy costs? Offutt and the DOD still have a long way to go in order to reach a 30-percent reduction in energy consumption by 2015. Any and all ideas are appreciated and may contribute to a cleaner and more efficient working environment. To submit an idea, go to the 55th Force Support Squadron manpower web page at http://www.offutt55fss.com/manpower/manpower.html and follow the "IDEA Program" link on the left hand side. Individuals can truly make a difference by making small changes and submitting big ideas.