Energy conservation for our future

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Rick Moisio
  • Commander, 162nd Fighter Wing
In previous articles I have addressed the coming money crunch that will impact the Air Force and the Guard. As the Air Force directs moneys to recapitalize the aging aircraft fleet, we will experience budget cuts approaching 10 percent. 

This will put severe pressure on funding for flying hours, travel, and fulltime manning, as we've already seen. But certain bills fall into the category of "must pay" and what we need to do is reduce those bills as much as practical. 

Utilities and fuel are must pay bills; whatever we use we have to pay for. The Air National Guard electric bill was $48 million last year and the 162nd share of that bill was just under $1 million. With 88 wings in the Guard, you can see that by virtue of our size and our fulltime presence, we are a major consumer of energy. But that also means that we can make a significant impact by reducing our energy consumption. 

You've noticed what's been done just in the past month in an attempt to save electricity and we will compare month to month billing versus last year to see how effective our efforts have been. My purpose with this article is to increase every individual's awareness of the issue and begin to bring about a cultural change in which we all think about conservation all the time. 

Changing the settings on our computer monitors can help us save significant money. If every monitor in the Air National Guard were turned off over night or went to standby after 10 minutes of inactivity during the workday the ANG would save $1.5 million per year! 

We recommend the following settings for your computer: monitor to standby after 10 minutes, computer system to standby after 20 minutes. I leave it to each individual as to whether you wish to allow your hard drive to turn off (after 30 minutes) because if your hard drive is off when an update comes through our system, your computer cannot accept the update with our current technology. Therefore when you return and get your hard drive running, the update will come through to your system and it may disrupt your work. 

Another way you can help is to turn off the lights when you leave your work area for an extended period. Look around when you're going home in the afternoon and turn off lights that don't need to be burning. You can make a difference. 

We're working on getting some solar electrical generation on our base. Hopefully within a year we will have started a project that will result in significant savings and a very quick payback on the investment. 

Got any bright ideas that can help?