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Schriever continues green efforts

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- According to energy officials, Team Schriever is on track to make remarkable improvement to its water consumption for fiscal 2014, with a 16 percent reduction in the first five months.

"This improvement is largely due to three major water projects implemented in 2013," said Dave Humphrey, 50th Civil Engineer Squadron resource utility manager. "The first repaired a large water leak near Building 401, the second installed more than 250 low-flow water faucets and toilets, and the third implemented water irrigation restrictions. In addition, more heavily watered areas were converted to drier, native landscapes."

For its complete energy picture, Schriever is 34 percent below the energy baseline year of fiscal 2013, after discounting exclusions, which includes mission facilities exempt from energy reduction regulations.

"Our energy performance thus far puts us about two years ahead of schedule for the limits imposed by the U.S. Congress and the president," Humphrey said. "We also continue to submit improvement projects to the Air Force."

This spring, 50 CES will implement two major energy initiatives.

"First, a project to install larger cooling towers in the Central Utility Plant will deliver free chilled water to cool buildings whenever the tower water is cold enough," Humphrey said. "Coupled with that will be advanced computer control of the plant chillers. The second project is to select a contractor for numerous energy efficiency projects in many of the base buildings. The contractor will use their own funds to build the project and then recover investment costs over a period up to 25 years from reimbursed savings."

The base also recently received approval to advertise two energy improvement projects with a total cost of $570,000; both will install high efficiency air conditioning and heating systems.

"Schriever uses about 10 times the electricity per person as we use at home. Anything we can do to lower our use is good for the Air Force," Humphrey said. "Be aware of energy use around you. Individuals should report wasteful building problems to your facility manager so they can engage 50 CES customer service. Always pay attention to unneeded lights. If you think there is excessive lighting in your area, or lighting during unoccupied hours, please call your building manager."

Additionally, 50 CES officials want to remind Team Schriever to start thinking about water energy conservation, especially during spring. Most people will increase their use of this energy during this season as the temperature gets warmer because of activities such as landscape watering, car washing and others that use substantial amounts of water.

"The best advice is to use water sparingly, befitting the precious commodity that it is," said Humphrey.

He also provided tips on saving water including encouraging people to turn off faucets when soaping up, rather than letting the water flow down the drain for no purpose. People should also water landscapes just two days a week, early in the morning before the sun comes up. Vehicles should also be waxed so dirt is more easily removed, thus requiring less water use. Additionally, building managers should look at any water-hungry landscapes and convert them to xeriscape.

"Water rates usually go up in late spring, so be cost-conscious," Humphrey said. "Always treat energy like a limited resource because the day will come when fossil fuels will be scarce. Schriever's cost per unit energy goes up as we use more electricity. And never forget that energy costs detract from the Air Force's available funds for building operations and maintenance."

Humphrey said water and energy are precious for life; their use is endemic to modern society. However, having them available at the turn of a faucet or the flipping of a switch does not translate into them being free.

"Our goal is to encourage every employee, Airman, civilian and contractor, to adopt energy saving habits and work practices," he said. "This will help Schriever and the Air Force to continue reducing energy and water consumption. In this time of limited budgets, all savings are crucial to the Air Force to keep missions alive for our national security."

(Some information courtesy of Department of Energy)
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