Consider ways to reduce energy consumption

By Caroline Ward: 27th SOCES

In support of Energy Awareness Month and beyond, here are smart, inexpensive ways to can reduce your energy and water consumption. Being aware and making smart choices saves you and the Air Force money that can be invested in aircraft operations and maintenance, construction and maintenance of facilities as well as quality of life programs.

These tips can be applied by members who live off base as well. By working together, we succeed in promoting a greener, more environmentally friendly community,

• Turn off unneeded lights, computers and appliances and use natural lighting when possible.

• Set the thermostat to 78 degrees or higher at home. For every degree you adjust your thermostat you can save up to five percent. Take advantage of ceiling fans to circulate air.

• Turn up the thermostat to 85 degrees before leaving home.

• Use major appliances and equipment after 7 p.m., when power demand is lower. Only run dishwashers and washing machines when you have a full load and air-dry clothes rather than using the clothes dryer. Using the cold water setting on your clothes washer can reduce the energy it uses by 75 percent.

• Turn down the water heater thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

• Stop “leaking energy” in electronics – TVs, VCRs, DVD players, computers, cell phone chargers and many other electronics use power even when they are turned off. Unplug or use power strips to easily switch off electronics to save 5 percent on your annual energy costs.

• Check windows and doors for air leaks and replace weather stripping or caulking where needed.

• Clean and change air conditioner filters regularly. Dirt restricts air flow, reducing the efficiency of your cooling system.

• Close curtains and blinds on west- and south-facing windows and plant trees or vines for outdoor shade.

• Water early morning. As much as 30 percent can be lost to evaporation during the day.

• Shorten showers — reducing showers by half the time can save hundreds of gallons of hot water for a family of 4 and save 33 percent of your hot water heating costs.

• Install low flow showerheads – hundreds of gallons of water and 10-16 percent of water heating costs can be saved.

• Fix leaky faucets and toilets — small leaks can add up and waste 52,800 gallons of water a year.

• For off base residents, follow New Mexico American Water’s (http://www.amwater.com) watering schedule to help regulate drawdown of the Ogalalla Aquifer: odd numbered addresses water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and even numbered addresses water on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

• Water your lawn only when it needs it. An easy way to tell if your lawn needs water is to simply walk across the grass. If you leave footprints, it’s time to water.

• Plan for fewer, deep-soaking waterings to encourage deep root growth and stronger turf, and set your lawn mower one notch higher to make your lawn more drought-tolerant.

These few initiatives save money on utility costs and reduces power and water usage. For more information, go to the Energy Star website at www.energystar.gov and the Alliance to Save Energy website at www.ase.org.

Energy conservation not only saves money, it reduces our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels and reduces the amount of dangerous pollutants created in the production of electricity.

If you have any questions, suggestions or concerns, e-mail the base Resource Efficiency Manager and Energy/Utility Program Manager at 27SOCES.CEAEnergy@cannon.af.mil.