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Lifting off with less energy

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Vandenberg recently replaced 250 streetlights with longer-lasting, more efficient light-emitting diodes on the main base area here.

The replacement is part of a two-year-old project to make the base more energy efficient. Not only do exterior lights now shine brighter, but 180 buildings are now retrofitted with more energy friendly interior fluorescent bulbs.

The energy saving efforts might seem simple and minute to some, but when the amount of money an energy saved is considered, they are very important efforts.

"Each LED streetlight will use a third of the energy the old lights used," said Brad King, the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron energy manager. "Just with the lights we have replaced up to today, we will save approximately $15,000 in energy alone. When you include manpower, the savings reach around $25,000 a year. "

Not only will the transition to energy responsible lighting save Vandenberg mony, but it will also keep the base in compliance with federal laws requiring the reduction of energy.

"Every federal agency is required by law to reduce the amount of energy they use," said Mr. King. "LED lights and the retrofits will save us money and energy, and help us meet the energy requirements set by Congress."

The biggest reason to keep striving for more energy effective ways to conduct base operations is it's good business.

"Vandenberg's combined energy bill is around $15 million a year," Mr. King said. "Think what that money could do if it was being put directly into the mission."

Large-scale efforts like LED streetlights are not the only solution to energy efficiency. That $15 million bill also includes personal energy uses like that in base housing. There is one simple thing Mr. King advises everyone to do:

"If you aren't using it, turn it off,"