Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

Energy Awareness Month is over, but not gone

A solar wall was installed on Hangar 210 on Peterson Air Force Base in 2007. The wall is made of ribbed panels that have small slits on them. Air is drawn in through the slits and the surface of the panels heats the air, which is then blown in through an air duct inside the hangar. To date, the project has saved $126,000 in utility costs. Solar walls are being considered for other buildings on base in an effort to increase renewable energy sources. (U.S. Air Force photo/Monica Mendoza)

A solar wall was installed on Hangar 210 on Peterson Air Force Base in 2007. The wall is made of ribbed panels that have small slits on them. Air is drawn in through the slits and the surface of the panels heats the air, which is then blown in through an air duct inside the hangar. To date, the project has saved $126,000 in utility costs. Solar walls are being considered for other buildings on base in an effort to increase renewable energy sources. (U.S. Air Force photo/Monica Mendoza)

by Monica Mendoza

21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.  — Maybe you’ve received the pop-up messages on your computer from “Pete Light,” the 21st Space Wing energy saving mascot and spokesman.

“Remember to turn off lights and printers at the end of the workday – together we save as much as $130,000 per year with these simple measures,” he wrote in one of the recent daily messages.

The computer pop-up messages are part of a wing-wide Energy Awareness Month campaign and an overall energy reducing program that includes building energy audits, large scale energy savings projects and energy use cuts across the 21st Space Wing, including its geographically separated units.

“Energy Awareness Month is over, but energy savings needs to be on our minds every month,” said Randy Pieper, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron resource efficiency manager.

Reducing energy consumption and costs is a key focus for the 21SW and all Air Force installations as they move toward energy reduction goals of 3 percent a year now through 2015. The goals are set by executive order and require all Department of Defense services to reduce facility energy.

Across the Air Force, large scale energy savings projects are underway from solar arrays at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz., to the Air Force Academy’s net-zero energy initiative, where all power consumed would be generated on the Academy.

The 21st Space Wing also has some large scale projects in the works. At Cape Cod Air Force Station, two wind turbines will be built in the coming year as an effort to increase the use of renewable energy sources. The wind turbines are expected to cut energy costs by about $1 million a year. Already on Peterson AFB, a giant solar wall on the side of Hangar 210 on the flightline has saved $126,000 in utility costs. The wall was installed in 2007 at a cost of $300,000 and is expected to have paid for itself within the next two years, said Jim Jacobsen, 21CES base energy manager.

“As the sun shines on it, the metal surface heats up,” Mr. Jacobsen said. “On the ribs on the panels, there are slits. Air is drawn in and as the air passes through the slits, the surface heats up the air that comes into the building.”

The 21st Space Wing is pulling out all the stops when it comes to finding ways to reduce energy consumption. This summer, an outside team conducted energy audits on several Peterson AFB buildings, which included looking at all energy sources within the buildings. As a result, engineers and building supervisors will adjust and balance all sensors and monitors so that heat and cooling distribution within a building is more uniform.

Also, heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems will be put on schedules so that buildings are not being heated or cooled when no one is in them, Mr. Jacobsen said. The new HVAC schedules coupled with the adjustments to the overall systems are expected to save hundreds of thousands of dollars. For example, in the 21st SW headquarters building, utility costs are $126,000 a year. After the adjustments, costs are expected to drop to $81,000. In Air Force Space Command headquarters on Peterson AFB, adjustments to building heating and cooling schedules, tweaks to the heating and cooling system, and changes in building temperature are expected to reduce utility expenses by $97,000 in the coming year.

One of the most immediate and noticeable changes for Peterson and Cheyenne Mountain personnel will be in the building temperatures. This winter, building temperatures will be set at 68 degrees instead of 72 degrees, for an estimated savings of $115,000. And, excess street lights and parking lot lights will be turned off, for an estimated savings of $125,000.

Meanwhile, the pop-up messages sent to work computers from “Pete Light” are sparking ideas about how to save energy. Dozens of suggestions have been e-mailed, Mr. Pieper said.

“When the last pop-up went out, within two hours we got a dozen suggestions,” he said. “They are good ideas that we are working on, and most importantly, it gets people thinking.”

Here are a few ideas to keep energy consumption down:

n Turn off lights when leaving a room.

n Turn off computer monitors, printers, copiers and fax machines at night and on weekends.

n Use task lighting or day lighting when possible.

n Print and copy only what’s needed.

n Make sure air conditioning and heating supply and return vents are not obstructed.

n Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.

n Turn off personal computers, televisions, stereos and other electronic devices when away.

n Take the stairs whenever possible.

n Report energy waste including water leaks, building deficiencies and energy abuses to the building manager or 21st Civil Engineer Squadron, 556-4030.

n Send energy-saving ideas to Pete Light at PeteLight@peterson.af.mil

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