Energy Awareness Month: Program helps conserve Cannon’s resources

By Caroline Ward: 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron

On Oct. 2, 2009, and Oct. 1, 2010, President Barack Obama signed a Presidential Proclamation designating October as National Energy Awareness Month.

To underscore the importance of this effort, Col. Buck Elton, 27th Special Operations Wing commander, signed a proclamation designating October as CAFB Energy Awareness Month.

Energy conservation is of vital importance to ensuring resources for the future. If we don’t work to conserve energy and increase supply of renewable energy generation, we run the risk of eventually running out of power.

Conservation is important to Cannon Air Force Base; as a military installation, we need to be conscious of our energy and water resources to ensure future sustainment of mission operations.

The CAFB Energy Team kicked off the month by initiating an energy conservation and awareness contest to encourage base wide involvement.

The team is working to ensure operational energy conservation stays at the forefront of our minds. The 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron manages the program that focuses on energy, water, fuels usage and reduction, building sustainable facilities as well as awareness and outreach.

Operational energy refers to any resources needed to continue mission operations. This includes flying, maintenance, and support operations.

The energy team works to develop and implement projects that either directly reduce consumption, or install new technology that uses energy in a more efficient way.

In the 2010 fiscal year, the Energy Team received funding for three projects providing more than $830,000 in annual energy savings. In 2011, the Energy Team headed two lighting projects with an estimated annual energy savings of more than $70,000.

Currently, the team is working on developing projects that will reduce water usage and implement water reuse technology, along with projects that aim to update old building systems such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

The Fuels Management flight in the 27th Special Operations Logistics and Readiness Squadron is working to incorporate alternative fuels into their fleet of ground vehicles. Currently, they use two alternative fuels. B20 Biodiesel is a blend of 20 percent biomass and 80 percent diesel, and E85 Ethanol is a blend of 15 percent gasoline and 85 percent ethanol alcohol, which is a corn-based alcohol.

Ground fuels usage is monitored monthly and is broken down by squadron to get an accurate picture of where the most fuel is being used on base. Aviation fuels are also included in the effort to reduce; flight simulators allow aircrews to save jet fuel usage by providing an alternate place to train, and the Air Force is actively researching alternative jet fuels.

In order to track these changes to legitimize the energy savings, accountability through measures and metrics is very important. CAFB is working to tie 110 advanced electric meters to a computer system that will download data at regular intervals up to 15 minutes and download it onto a central computer.

This will allow the Energy Team to track usage and analyze which facilities are using the most energy and through trend analysis will help identify problems in facilities.