By Lt. Col. Sarah Jackson
23rd Space Operations Squadron commander
NEW BOSTON AIR FORCE STATION — Within the four major graded areas, managing resources can be difficult in a constrained environment. Although we are on a slight rebound from a couple years ago, we still are not back to where we were, nor should we expect to be at those levels in the near term. So what are some ways New Boston Air Force Station, New Hampshire, is working within the 50th Network Operations Group to manage resources?
One area we are excelling in with regards to managing resources is looking for ways to be more energy efficient. Although we have a few programs and projects in this area, I would like to highlight a couple here.
In an effort to reduce heating fuel oil usage, in late 2010, New Boston AFS installed its first geothermal heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. Did you know the ground temperature is fairly constant year round? Geothermal HVAC systems utilize the Earth’s temperature to minimize the temperature differences between the air in a building and the outside.
Ground-source heat pumps, part of the geothermal HVAC system, in a closed loop system, pump fluid from the building into the ground and back into the building. In the summer, the fluid is cooled by the ground and pulled back into the building. In the winter the fluid is warmed by the ground and returned back into the building. This process minimizes the overall differential between the building’s internal temperature and the outside air temperature.
This allows us to decrease how much we are heating or cooling the building because we are not trying to heat from zero degrees in the winter, or cool from 90 degrees in the summer.
To date, New Boston has three buildings running on geothermal HVAC systems, with an annual savings of approximately $75,000. These savings are driven for the most part by local costs for fuel and electricity, so savings may vary by location.
Additional savings are also captured in the significant decrease in required periodic maintenance compared to previous site systems. The savings in manpower allows for better prioritization of civil engineering efforts to include accomplishing more in-house projects versus contracting them out; which also allows for third-order savings.
Another New Boston effort along with numerous other bases, is the conversion to LED lighting. Our electrician has replaced old lighting with LEDs as well as researched advancements of various generations of LEDs to provide our station with long-term solutions. He identified U.S. vendors to source materials and accomplished the upgrades in-house at considerable savings; from converting old fixtures to LED compatible ones, including perimeter and fluorescent lighting, to training Kaena Point Satellite Tracking Station (HULA) members in Hawaii and helping them upgrade their lights. The installation of LEDs at New Boston AFS reduced our electrical costs by approximately $20,000 during the last three years.
We all need to do our best to manage what resources we have to optimize productivity and minimize spending; not just in how we manage our material resources, but also our allotted and available manpower. Further, when we find efficiencies, we should share them with others in the group and wing. This will enable the wing to maintain or perhaps surpass its “Highly Effective” rating in this major graded area.