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Energy conservation at Pope

  • Published
  • Courtesy of 43rd Civil Engineer Squadron
Energy demand is on the rise and many experts say we could reach peak oil production within the next 15 years. Therefore, it is critical to be watchful stewards of enegy use.
The U.S. Air Force uses 65 percent of electricity consumption and 20 percent of fossil fuel consumption just in facilities alone. 

In 2007, President George W. Bush enacted Executive Order 13423, an Energy Independence Security Act which mandates that all Federal Facilities reduce energy consumption 30 percent by the year 2015. 

In order to encourage requests for energy projects, congress set aside $250 million per year of stimulus money to the Air Force for energy reduction projects and programs.
The EISA acts to enforce annual energy audits. These audits would then help pinpoint waste and locate potential energy projects. 

With contractors quoting $1.2 million to $1.8 million to perform such energy audits, outsourcing energy audits at Pope was not an option. The goal had to be achieved with limited house resources, personnel and equipment. 

In May, the 43rd Civil Engineering Squadron created Pope's first Energy Management Working Group to meet the EISA deadline. Senior Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning technicians and Energy Management Control System technicians, plumbers, carpenters and electricians from the audited each facility using their subject matter expertise. 

Their findings gave the energy manager the tools to paint the big picture of the energy efficiency of each facility. 

"It was amazing to see all of the energy inefficiencies and wastes that these experts found," said 1st Lt. Kyle Bergren, 43rd CES. "They found things awry from fans blowing backwards to whole facilities still using old incandescent light bulbs. All those little and inexpensive things add up to significant savings. The EMWG audited 54 of Pope's largest facilities, covering 1.2M square feet. 

The EMWG innovated their time by multi-tasking the audits with a preventative maintenance program. The technicians not only inspected equipment for energy efficiency but also checked for proper operation of building systems and equipments.
"Energy efficiency not only means replacing old equipment but also ensuring that current equipment is operating properly," said Tech. Sgt. Jason Tye 43rd CES HVAC technician. "We are finding all sorts of energy deficiencies that we fix on the spot such as broken belts, leaky pipes, old insulation, dirty coils, and improperly installed equipment." 

In the field, the EMWG promoted energy conservation by establishing a rapport with facility managers. "Our facility managers are an invaluable resource," said Tech. Sgt. Scott Samel. 

"Discussions with our facility managers are the first step in the audit process. Their knowledge gives us an idea of what to look for before we perform the audits."
The expertise and audit results spearheaded the way for quick payback projects such as the replacement of 3,400 incandescent lights and the initiation of renewable energy studies like indoor solar pool heating. 

The audits provided channels of communication and awareness among base personnel as well as encouraged the promotion of energy projects. Although coordinating in-house energy audits can be challenging, the program proved that energy reduction can be achieved with proactive preventive maintenance, small payback projects and heightened awareness rather than expensive audit contracts. Overall, the audit program has paid dividends for Pope. So far, Pope is 7.5 percent ahead of the Fiscal Year 2009 energy reduction goal of 12