Energy conservation: Operations enabler

By Caroline Ward: 27th SOCES

In an address to attendees at the Air Force Energy Forum III in Washington, D.C., May 28, Air Force Chief of Staff, General Norton Schwartz said, “We cannot overstate the criticality of every airman embracing energy as a consideration in all we do. This is a long-term imperative that carries near-term urgency.”

Schwartz said all airmen, in operations, maintenance and mission support, from the flight line, the hangar, or the military personnel flight, must further realize the link between energy and our ability to make critical contributions to the Joint team.

“The Air Force’s part must embrace the notion that energy efficiency is not a stand-alone priority because it binds together and enables every dimension of our mission, he said. “The idea that energy efficiency affords us greater resiliency, translates into greater capability and versatility.”

In a separate address at the Eisenhower library earlier that month on May 8, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates spoke about providing a big incentive for change in the service branches, including the Air Force.

He said he let the services to keep a portion of what they save in overhead costs to buy weapons. Gates laid out hard savings targets…$10 billion in overhead in 2012 and up to $15 billion each year after that.

The 2010 Air Force Energy Plan lays out the targets that AFSOC and other major commands must meet. A few of those targets are:

• Provide energy awareness training to all personnel by the end of 2010

• Reduce costs 20 percent by 2020

• Reduce energy intensity by three percent per year

• Reduce water usage by two percent per year

• Increase the use of renewable energy by the Air Force (5 percent percent by 2012)

• Reduce transportation fuel use by two percent per year

• Increase alternative fuel use by 10 percent per year

• Install electric, natural gas and water meters at facilities by 2012

• Conduct energy evaluations at facilities every four years

New federal laws, executive orders and DoD guidance will continue to escalate these targets in the coming years.