Energy Monitors Lead Command Drive Toward Energy Conservation

Story Number: NNS111104-22Release Date: 11/4/2011 2:27:00 PM
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By Jon Gagne, Naval Air Station Kingsville Public Affairs

KINGSVILLE, Texas (NNS) -- Naval Air Station (NAS) Kingsville is taking a top-to-bottom approach on promoting a culture of awareness to manage energy use and prevent energy waste.

With more than 40 buildings on the air station, providing electricity to each results in a huge electric bill each month. While the command is turning to alternative energy sources such as solar panels to generate power, it's also taking an aggressive approach to eliminating energy waste at all levels. This includes everything from reducing fuel consumption for military vehicles, to conserving water, installing more efficient lighting systems and appliances, and better managing energy use throughout the air station.

"Our huge air conditioning systems throughout the base draw a tremendous amount of energy," said NAS Kingsville Commanding Officer Capt. Mark McLaughlin. "And so does our building lighting and computer operations. On average we spend about $6 per minute per day on electricity, and that's why it is so important that we look for ways to reduce our energy use."

Navy commands have filtered the responsibility for energy conservation to command energy managers, who in turn, are turning to individual Building Energy Monitors (BEMs) as the frontline defenders. It's a program that is producing positive results throughout Navy Region Southeast.

"NAS Kingsville has trained 31 BEMs to handle the day-to-day management of energy use within the respective spaces," said Norma Barrera, NAS Kingsville energy manager. "We provide the training and give each BEM a guidance manual to help them identify problem areas and potential cost-saving improvements for their commands or activities."

The BEMs are charged to conduct weekly or monthly inspections of their buildings and submit monthly energy conservation reports to the energy manager. BEMs are also tasked with promoting energy conservation to their personnel and encouraging suggestions for further improvement in conserving energy.

"As energy manager, I review the ideas and check to see if they are not already incorporated in a project on base, said Barrera. "If not, I pass this information up the chain for approval, and then initiate trouble calls or work requests to incorporate the ideas. BEMs have provided ideas such as providing weather stripping to exterior doors in their buildings and vestibules."

Nat Garcia is the BEM for the Consolidated Bachelor Quarters (CBQ) and Enlisted Barracks. He and his team monitor 45 rooms at the CBQ and 35 rooms at the barracks. Early next year his staff will move to a new Gateway Inns and Suites building, with more than 90 rooms. With all lodging facilities open 24-hours a day, it's important that all CBQ and aarracks personnel are involved in the departmental energy conservation program.

"We are taking energy conservation seriously," Garcia said. "At our weekly staff meetings we talk about checking room thermostats, ensuring lights and appliances are not left on, and properly maintaining shower and laundry facilities. Our housekeepers play a big role in this program."

Over the past year, Garcia and his team have replaced 56 older model refrigerators will new, Energy Star® efficient models. They also replaced 356 light bulbs for ceiling fans and light fixtures with energy-efficient 60-watt light bulbs, installed new efficient shower heads in all rooms, and reduced the number of lighting fixtures. In the laundry and common areas, they've added motion-sensor light switches that turn power on when individuals enter the room and turn the lights off when they exit. Lighting occupancy sensors are a technology that can save up to 30 percent in energy consumption, according to Navy energy statistics.

Command-wide, an "old appliance turn-in" program is gaining momentum. The turn-in program is held each year in April around Earth Day, and during October's Energy Awareness Month campaign to get rid of older appliances that can be replaced by energy-efficient models. This October, base commands turned in four microwave ovens, seven televisions, seven refrigerators, one hot water heater and 1 coffee pot. The items were turned in to Public Works and will be eventually turned over to the Defense Reutilization and Management Office (DRMO) or simply recycled.

While the Gateway Inns & Suites and consolidated barracks are playing an active role in the basewide conservation drive, other commands and facilities are doing their part, too. For example, the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Department owns nine facilities on board the air station including the fitness center, the Captain's Club, Child Development and Youth Activities Centers, Escondido Ranch, and the bowling Center. BEMs have been assigned to each facility.

Large tenant commands like Training Air Wing TWO, the U.S. Border Patrol, Branch Health Clinic Kingsville, and contractor L-3 Vertex also have BEMs who are tasked with overseeing their spaces.

The goal is the same for all BEMs: promote a culture of energy awareness throughout their facility and take an active approach to conserving energy and reducing the command's energy footprint. These initiatives at NAS Kingsville - from the major alternative energy programs currently underway to the day-to-day groundwork being performed by Building Energy Monitors - continues to lead the command's progress towards a greener, more-efficient future.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus laid out five aggressive energy goals in October 2009 to improve energy security and efficiency, increase energy independence, and help lead the nation toward a clean energy economy. This initiative assists in achieving the energy goal of increasing alternative energy afloat and ashore where by 2020, the Department of the Navy (DON) will produce at least 50 percent of shore-based energy requirements from alternative sources and 50 percent of DON installations will be net-zero.

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