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Embodying ‘I am Air Force Energy’

By Maj. Gen. Everett Thomas, Air Force Global Strike Command, vice commander Air Force Global Strike Command

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October is Energy Action Month, the key word in that title being, "Action." We take this month to highlight the importance of energy in our daily lives, but throughout the year we, as individuals and as a Command, must be mindful of our energy actions, maintaining the mantra and this year's theme, "I am Air Force Energy."

Part of ensuring Global Strike's "no fail" mission lies in the way we consume and delegate our energy supplies. We must sustain access to reliable energy supplies to meet our operational needs, while displaying responsible stewardship of the American public's tax dollars by the way we use those energy supplies.

As a Command, we can be proud of the conservation and energy efficiency accomplishments we've made in the past year.

A member of Team Minot won a 2012 Department of Energy award for his work in energy conservation. Larry Johnson's efforts to identify energy hogs on base and implement innovative alternatives, such as introducing heat pumps and energy recover ventilation systems to buildings on base, has saved Minot AFB money and resources.

Malmstrom AFB is saving money and resources by reusing and recycling material wherever possible. For example, recycling antifreeze at various locations on base reduces the purchase of ethylene glycol based antifreeze by more than 50 percent. The 341st has also established a material reclamation area to reuse wood and wood mulch, reusing more than 50,000 pounds of wood to date.

The 90th Missile Wing has teamed up with a nearby community college to keep the base's wind turbines operational. This partnership provides cost-effective maintenance for the base and allows F.E. Warren to continue generating alternative energy, as it is currently the only Air Force base that uses wind turbines.

Unified efforts across the command include improving existing infrastructure, expanding the use of renewable energy, improving building heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) efficiency, replacing aging lighting fixtures and installing and connecting advance meters to monitor energy usage.

In fiscal year 2012, Global Strike funded 30 projects totaling $11.1 million, which will yield a projected annual savings of $1.8 million in natural gas, coal and electric energy costs and over 156,000 MBtu's (British thermal unit) in energy consumption. To put that into context, saving 156,000 MBtu's is just less than the amount of energy consumed by all AFGSC main bases in one month, combined!

Taking steps to conserve energy begins individually in our daily habits, both in our professional and personal lives. Actions as simple as turning off your computer monitor at the end of the day; reducing idling time in vehicles; monitoring indoor temperature set points to minimize wasted heating and cooling all contribute to a an energy aware culture.

Being aware of our energy consumption and taking mindful actions to conserve, especially in fiscally constrained times, will help foster a culture that embodies the theme, "I am Air Force Energy." Taking ownership of our individual and Command consumption only helps to ensure that we are able to accomplish our mission, and ultimately serve and protect the American public.