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For Air Force Space Command green translates to gold

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Air Force Space Command is making an effort to go green and save money. The command held an Energy Symposium here April 1 -3 in an effort to look at all the savings that can be realized from retrofitting and optimizing existing buildings, creating energy efficient building plans, communicating energy savings tips and exploiting renewable resources.

"We all consume energy within this command; we are all part of the solution! Every dollar wasted or inefficiently used is a dollar that does not support the warfighter. This is not just an opportunity for the A4/7 community, but an opportunity for us all to validate and review our processes and gain those energy efficiencies by doing business smarter. We all need to change the way we do our business - synergies will occur. Energy needs to be a consideration in all we do." said Mr. Tim Pugh, AFSPC/A7OI Energy and Utilities Program Manager.

"We have to buy in to this program," said Col. Lance Hafeli, Chief of the Operations Division. Colonel Hafeli is responsible for the development of the command's Infrastructure Energy Plan and is working closely with his Energy staff and the base Energy and Resource Efficiency Managers to determine the best approach to capitalizing on the energy saving opportunities. We have teamed with Col. Tom Peppard, chief of the Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century office using their problem solving methods to develop our strategy.

"In Air Force Space Command, our utilities systems are the runways of the command. We are the biggest user of electrical energy in all of the major commands in the Air Force because our space mission is so very power dependent," said Colonel Hafeli. "The command is concerned about energy consumption and is attempting to lower levels through energy awareness at all levels, the use of common sense fixes to existing infrastructure, more environmentally friendly design of future infrastructure, and more extensive use of renewable energy such as E-85 and wind/solar technologies. It is our responsibility as good stewards of our taxpayer's dollars to find the best ways we can to save money and conserve energy," Colonel Hafeli added.

Dr. Stephen Doig, a member of the Air Staff attended the symposium to provide senior level advice to the participants. He emphasized the Air Force commitment to meeting the federal and presidential mandates for energy conservation. Dr. Doig is an expert with broad business experience who is concentrating on helping the Air Force improve its energy efficiency along a number of dimensions ranging from end use reduction, improved designs and renewable energy.

"Our greatest opportunity for energy security is in efficiency," he said.

The command is developing methods to exploit the four pillars of the Infrastructure Energy: improve the current infrastructure, improve the future infrastructure, expand renewables and manage costs.

"I want to see an overarching strategy come from this major command," Dr. Doig said. "They should identify key opportunities for economics within the four pillars of the program."

The key to this effort is to formulate a plan that is broad enough at the MAJCOM level so the different bases within the command can adopt those parts of the plan that specifically fit their bases.

"For instance," Dr. Doig said, "the northern tier bases may be more interested in savings centered on heating and how to do that more efficiently. Southern tier bases may look at savings on air conditioning."

These first pillar savings can come from a variety of sources. Retrofitting buildings includes efforts to make windows more efficient, improving building envelopes by adding insulation, weather stripping, replacing lights with more energy efficient lamps or control systems and updating or optimizing heating and cooling systems to maximize efficiency. These beginning efforts are common sense things that any concerned homeowner would do to upgrade their homes to save money.

The second pillar includes green design of buildings to maximize efficiency for the surrounding environment. Some initiatives would include insulation considerations, and window placement to maximize or block solar gain.

The third pillar, expanding renewables, includes efforts to purchase more fuel efficient vehicles and to use alternative fuel sources such as E-85. This pillar also includes initiatives to generate energy on bases or purchase Renewable energy from local utilities. Such renewables include use of wind and solar technologies.

"One of the Air Force goals for this program is to decrease dependence on foreign oil, to get our energy managers to recognize and plan for the fragility of the electrical grid and to look to the future and understand that natural gas is a finite resource over time," Dr. Doig said.

The timing of the conference is right. Retrofitting capabilities are robust. Green architectural design is mature and new energy generating technologies have come of age so that they are affordable, dependable and enduring. It is also time to take an enterprise-wide approach to energy savings. This week's conference focused on the traditional civil engineering aspect of energy usage. As AFSPC's plan is developed other functional organizations such as computer/communication and transportation will be rolled into the overarching strategy. Finally a vital strategic communication and education role for leadership and base energy managers will be developed to employ all 40,000+ MAJCOM personnel in this cause.

"At all levels, from the most junior to the most senior," Dr. Doig said, "I have heard Airmen say that the Air Force has a responsibility to be energy efficient. Their clear message is that they can get geared up to do this. Air Force leadership has a plan and is giving them the go ahead."

"The Air Force Space Command Infrastructure Energy Plan will help establish a road map to tackle the mandates for energy savings," said Colonel Hafeli. "This effort will build on itself. We recognize that it is a process for the command, not just an event."