Energy solutions: Fueling the mission

  • Published
  • By Matthew Latham
  • 4th Civil Engineer Squadron
In recognition of October being national Energy Awareness Month the base energy office is reaching out to teach the Seymour Johnson community with energy conservation information and tips.

What's the big deal?
The Seymour Johnson annual utility expense currently exceeds $7 million and continuous to climb each year. On average, the base community consumes $13,600 worth of electricity daily. Heating ventilation and air conditioning equipment accounts for more than half the base's energy bill.

Energy Management Steering Group
The base EMSG, led by 4th Fighter Wing vice commander, established a base energy policy. The basis of the policy is to help Seymour Johnson comply with Executive Order 13423 energy and water reduction requirements. In accordance with the EO, the base needs to reduce energy consumption annually by three percent, with a 30 percent decrease in energy use by 2015. The group is also working to lower base water use two percent annually and 16 percent by 2015.

To achieve these goals the EMSG and the energy office need everyone to contribute to this effort through a focus on conservation and improved efficiency. Funds saved from reduced utility expenses return to the base to fund additional energy initiatives and mission requirements.

What's already being done?
In helping the SJ community comply with EO 13423, the EMSG continues making improvements to base-wide reduction in energy consumption ranging from decentralizing the heat plant to the ongoing efforts in Operation Change Out. Additionally, the base is continually evaluating older HVAC systems that need repair, replacement or maintenance to ensure they are running at optimum efficiency. The Energy Management Control System assists maintenance efforts by monitoring temperatures set by the base energy policy at multiple control points.

In addition new base construction efforts are being planned with energy conservation efforts in mind. The new 4th Mission Support Group building designs meet the U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Desing's gold-level criteria. The 4th Civil Engineer Squadron main and satellite fire departments are also LEED certified.

What can you do today?
Here are a few simple, low-cost ways to save energy:
· Use a programmable thermostat to keep your house at a comfortable temperature year around. 
· Air dry dishes instead of using the dishwasher's drying cycle.
· Only run the washer and dishwasher when they are full.
· Keep the thermostat on your hot water heater set to 120 degrees.
· Take short showers instead of baths.
· Turn off your computer and monitor when it is not in use.
· TVs and DVD players in standby mode continue to use power. Throughout an electronics' life-cycle as much as 75 percent of the energy consumed by the item is used when it is powered off - so simply unplug them. If you use power strips for these home electronics you can turn the strips off when the equipment is not in use.
· Air filters should be changed once a month to increase clean air circulation and reduce energy demand from HVAC units.
· Look for the Energy Star label on home appliances and products. These products meet strict efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Free savers for base housing residences
The Strike Eagle Hardware Store offers the following tools free to residents of base family housing:
· Energy Star compact fluorescent light bulbs
· Air filters

As a team, we can succeed
The base energy policy requires each of us to do our part by turning off lights when they are not in use. Open curtains and blinds when available to allow natural day-lighting. Where appropriate in your offices, use task lighting instead of overhead lighting. Seymour Johnson AFB pays for the unnecessary powering of office equipment each night. The base energy policy requires us to turn off office equipment such as monitors, printers, scanners, copiers, speakers and facsimile machines at the end of the day. Plugging these devices into a power strip can help to easily power them off.

Everything you do may seem small, but there truly is "power" in numbers. Members of the base community can make energy-saving tips or suggestions in suggestion boxes. It is important to practice these throughout the year. Working together, everyone can find sustainable, energy-reduction solutions to succeed in the base's mission and maintain the amenity requirements.

For more information about energy-saving ideas, visit To share any energy-saving tips or make suggestions, e-mail