Keeping Goodfellow green, part 2

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- As highlighted in last week's issue of the Monitor, much is being done here at Goodfellow Air Force Base to drive down energy consumption and decrease any adverse impacts on our natural environment.

Goodfellow has many other players in that ongoing saga, in addition to the 17th Civil Engineer Squadron, including the base exchange, commissary and GECO.

The base exchange has taken numerous steps to chip away at energy costs. They have removed bulbs from vending machines located in areas with ample light. And overhead lighting on the BX floor and in offices have had one of the three bulbs removed, because two bulbs does the job just fine. To give a friendly reminder to save energy, a sign above light switches says, "Turn me off."

What these efforts produce is a reduction in energy expenditure without a reduction in end result; they save money while accomplishing the same job.

On energy conservation, the commissary has taken a number of effective measures as well. They've replaced T12 florescent bulbs with more efficient T8 florescent bulbs throughout the store and warehouse. Offices and areas that require 24 hour lighting have been put on motion sensors. And they're looking at installing sky lighting to forgo using electricity altogether when possible. The commissary also takes initiative on the small things that add up over time. They print on both sides of office paper and recycle it when it is no longer needed. Both the BX and commissary have begun the sale of reusable grocery bags, the commissary even offers insulated bags for cold items.

Recycling is an important issue to the BX and commissary as well. In 2007, approximately 77 tons of cardboard were recycled because of the bins used behind the BX and commissary. The commissary's initiatives have led to a reduction in the number of dumpsters they need for refuse and the frequency of trash pickup days. Their partnership with a local recycling company has yielded $3,129 returned back to the commissary.

The Goodfellow Environmental Conservation Organization (GECO), a group of environmentally minded volunteers from all over the base, has also teamed up with the commissary to improve recycling on base and raise money. GECO's recycling trailer has been relocated to the back side of the commissary to allow GECO volunteers access to process recycling materials much more easily.

The GECO trailer has drop offs for aluminum and all tin cans and all plastics (bags, bottles, laundry soap containers, etc.). Funds raised help strengthen the recycling program as well as help contribute to organizations like Airmen Against Drunk Driving, Armed Forces Committed to Excellence and the 56 Council. They work with Keep San Angelo Beautiful and the San Angelo Friends of the Environment as well.

GECO's efforts have contributed to the removing of over 9 tons of recyclable materials from the waste stream since 2006 and helped Goodfellow win the first-place government category award for Keep Texas Beautiful two years in a row.

If you are interested in joining GECO please contact Tech. Sgt. Kelly Bales at 654-5311 or kelly.bales@goodfellow.af.mil. Additional recycling needs, i.e. office paper, newspaper, magazines, printer cartridges, florescent light bulbs, phone books, cardboard and glass can be taken to the Goodfellow recycling center located on the northern end of Ft. Lancaster Ave.

We all contribute to the impact of our natural environment and our community. The Goodfellow Air Force Base community has shown that we are committed to sustainable living through many positive initiatives.

Whether it is shutting off an entire building's air conditioning or turning off your monitor when you leave work, whether it is 70 tons of cardboard recycled annually or 70 grams of white paper thrown into an office recycling bin daily, Goodfellow is doing its part to reduce energy expenditures and environmental impact.

Our continued vigilance will ensure we are not wasting precious 17th Training Wing resources and that we are sustaining a world worth fighting for.