Energy Conservation 2016
By William Hagen, 17th Civil Engineer Squadron
/ Published October 14, 2016
GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Next week, you may see some guy dressed up as Jon Snow from Game of Thrones walking around the base. You may also see some other people walking around in light up outfits. Well, the guy dressed up as Jon Snow is me, and the people dressed up in the light up outfits are my friends.
I’m the base energy manager here at Goodfellow, and my friends and I will dress up to celebrate Energy Conservation Week 2016. Every October is National Energy Conservation Month and each Air Force base celebrates with a week of events and giveaways in late October.
So, the light up outfits makes sense, but why am I dressed up as Jon Snow? What does medieval high fantasy have to do with energy conservation?
Because summer is coming.
For those of you who have watched the HBO hit, or read the “Song of Ice and Fire” books that the series is based on, you know that Jon Snow, has heeded his father’s family motto, “Winter is Coming” more seriously than anybody else in the whole series.
In the series, summers and winters can last for years and winters will bring with it starvation and other worldly monsters from the North. At the beginning of the series, the world is experiencing a ten year summer and almost no one is concerned about the inevitable winter, instead concerning themselves about various conquests, family squabbles and political machinations. Jon Snow, however, has dedicated himself to the problem of the upcoming winter and the monsters, joining the ancient order of the Night’s Watch in the North of the known world.
It may not seem like it, but our world is acting in much the same way. Carbon dioxide concentrations, which when trapped in the atmosphere can cause global climate change, have increased from approximately 280 parts per million at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to 400 ppm today. This is due to our dependence on fossil fuels for the vast majority of our energy consumption needs.
If we continue to produce carbon dioxide emissions at the rate that we are doing, we will contribute to our own problems of greater periods of drought, sea level rise, reduced biodiversity and greater numbers of adverse weather events, all due to higher global temperatures from the extra carbon dioxide emission emissions.
Don’t think of it as winter is coming, but summer is coming.
So what are we doing at Goodfellow Air Force Base to help reduce our carbon emissions?
Well, we have taken the first step to quantify our energy problems with Executive Order 13693, signed in 2015. This order states that by 2025, facilities managed by the Federal Government must reduce their Energy Usage by 25 percent and that 25 percent of Energy Must Come from Renewable Sources.
To meet this order, Goodfellow is in the planning stages of building a 5 to10 megawatt utility scale solar photovoltaic system at the south of the base. For comparison, the base usually uses at most 10 MW of power on a hot summer day, so such a system could help us have 15 percent-30 percent of our energy come from renewables, which is right in line with the mandate. Also, with solar right on the base, this can help protect Goodfellow from any power outages on the grid and the associated losses of productivity from a power outage. This goes in line with this year’s overall Air Force energy theme as #ProtectThePower.
We’re also doing a bunch of little things too, like initiating LED lighting replacement projects, installing smart meters to detect energy problems quicker, and conducting energy efficiency maintenance in consideration for energy efficiency. This is going to help us eventually reach the energy efficiency mandate as well.
Here’s what you can do:
The most important thing you can do is turn off all unnecessary equipment when you can, both here at the base and in your personal life. Minimize your usage of air conditioning and heating and try to wear seasonally appropriate clothing to minimize costs and maximize thermal comfort. You can also work on carpooling and public transit for your transportation needs.
Here at the base, if you see any energy or water abuse you can report it to me at the energy efficiency office.
Be sure also to check out all the sweet events that are going on for Energy Conservation Week 2016. We are going to be at the Exchange on Oct. 20 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and you can chat with me and our industry partners about energy and water efficiency. We will also be teaching the youth on Oct. 20 at 4 p.m. about saving energy as well.
Most importantly, we are going to have an Energy Generation Fitness Competition at the Mathis Fitness Center on 21 October at 5:30 p.m. This event will show the equivalency between the energy we expel exercising and the energy we consume from electricity. It is going to be a fun event with prizes.
So here at Goodfellow, we are doing all that we can to reduce our carbon emissions through more renewable energy and more efficient use of energy. Remember, do all that you can to #ProtectThePower, because Summer is Coming.
To report an energy abuse issue or for more information, contact the base energy manager at 325-654-5285.