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Energy plan focused on changing culture of Airmen

Col. Steve Tanous, 30th Space Wing commander, signs Vandenberg's energy conservation plan here on Oct. 25. The first-of-its-kind document contains the Wing’s strategic vision and goals for energy and water conservation as well as detailed tactical plans that tell people at all levels of the base what they can do to conserve.

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Col. Steve Tanous, 30th Space Wing commander, signs Vandenberg's energy conservation plan here on Oct. 25. The first-of-its-kind document contains the Wing’s strategic vision and goals for energy and water conservation as well as detailed tactical plans that tell people at all levels of the base what they can do to conserve.

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The truth, as inconvenient as it may be, is that the leading sources of energy are not renewable resources. Another truth is that Vandenberg is starting an Energy Conservation Program that is set to continuously reduce the base's annual energy use by three percent.

The program, which kicked off on Oct. 25, will also be putting an emphasis on water conservation and the use of renewable resources.

"Vandenberg's New Energy Management Plan will not only focus on conserving energy," said Brad King, a 30th Civil Engineer utility and energy manager. "It will also call for water usage to drop two percent annually, while increasing the use of renewable resources by 25%."

The first-of-its-kind document contains the Wing's strategic vision and goals for energy and water conservation as well as detailed tactical plans that tell people at all levels of the base what they can do to conserve.

The plan isn't about doing environmental friendly projects on the weekend and forgetting about them during the week but practicing an energy-aware lifestyle every day.

"We want to increase energy awareness so people will remember to turn a light switch off the same way they remember to buckle their seatbelt," said Col. Steve Tanous, the 30th Space Wing commander. "It's not about performing short-term actions, but changing a culture to reinforce energy-friendly habits."

Participation from the entire base will be required in order for the plan to work.

A webpage has been created that will allow people to go and get energy saving tips. The page also contains a link that allows members of Team V who have good energy or water saving ideas to share them with the base, Colonel Tanous said.

"These ideas will be reviewed and implemented based on potential effectiveness," he said. "Team V members whose ideas are implemented will be rewarded based on the level of the idea's impact -- whether it is unit, squadron or wing."

Members whose ideas help the entire wing will receive a commander's coin as well as a pass from me, Colonel Tanous said.

Great ideas began to flow even before the formal plan was printed. Consider the initiative that came from our Civil Engineers concerning changing the street lights to LED instead of the current high-pressure-sodium lights that use more energy.

"A group of CE Airmen, thinking out of the box, came up with a plan that will save Vandenberg money and energy and might be applicable across our Air Force," said Colonel Tanous.

"Over the next few weeks Team V members will be challenged to submit ideas to support our energy conservation efforts," Mr. King said.

The money saved will go toward protecting the American people.

"Executing the mission and maintaining a 99,000 acre installation is an expensive enterprise," Colonel Tanous said. "Saving energy will free up some of our dollars and allow us to return these funds to improve and recapitalize our infrastructure and ultimately provide critical space capabilities to our Nation during a time of war."

Col. Tanous kicked off the plan with a challenge to Team V.

"All the men and women of Vandenberg should review the new Energy Management Plan, see where they can help in meeting our reduction goals, and actively changing our mindsets to an "energy-saving" culture here at Vandenberg," Colonel Tanous said.