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CE conserves energy with lights off

VANDENBERG AFB, Calif. -- In an effort to conserve energy, the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron's command section came up with a bright idea - turn off the lights. 

Although not a hard and fast rule, those who work in Bldg. 11442 have made it a habit to keep the lights turned off during daylight hours. 

"We're not being stingy," said Ms. Cathy Braxton, the administrative officer of the 30th CES. "We do it because it makes sense." 

The "no lights" policy works in the squadron's command building because of the many sources of natural light - skylights, windows and glass doors. While the sun is up, there is enough light to conduct business. As the sun goes down, however, they're eventually forced to turn on some lights. 

Even when the lights are on, though, the building is still eco-friendly. 

"We switched all the regular incandescent bulbs in the building with compact florescent lights," said Mr. Brad King, the 30th CES's energy manager. "Between having the lights off during the day and the CFLs, (the CE command section) is saving more than $850 per year." 

Energy conservation efforts such as this have many benefits, including fiscal and environmental, said Mr. King. Using less energy saves money, which leaves more money available for important Air Force programs. As for the environment, even doing something as simple as turning off the lights reduces fossil fuel dependence and carbon dioxide emissions. 

"Turning off the lights is the first step in no-cost energy conservation," said Mr. King. 

While not every office can function with no electric lights, having similar rules at home can help, too. In fact, Ms. Braxton said it becomes habit-forming. 

"I actually leave the lights off during the day at home now, too," she said. "By doing this every day, it becomes a lifestyle change." 

For more information on energy conservation at Vandenberg, visit the base's energy management program Web site at www.vandenberg.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=10328. For more information on how save energy in the office or at home, visit www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energyfacts/saving/efficiency/savingenergy_secondary.html.