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VAFB remains energy conscious

In support of  Energy Awareness Month, also known as Energy Action Month, all personnel are encouraged to take the time to evaluate their daily energy consumption. The commemoration aims to remind base personnel of Earth’s dwindling resources while helping to replace neglectful energy habits with more mindful practices. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Jan Kays/Released)

In support of Energy Awareness Month, also known as Energy Action Month, all personnel are encouraged to take the time to evaluate their daily energy consumption. The commemoration aims to remind base personnel of Earth’s dwindling resources while helping to replace neglectful energy habits with more mindful practices. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Jan Kays/Released)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- In support of  Energy Awareness Month, also known as Energy Action Month, all personnel are encouraged to take the time to evaluate their daily energy consumption.

The commemoration aims to remind base personnel of Earth's dwindling resources while helping to replace neglectful energy habits with more mindful practices.

"It's good to remind people of energy conservation opportunities continually, but this month helps us really get the word out there," said Bradley King, 30th Civil Engineer Squadron energy manager. "Most people, in their daily lives, don't always focus on energy conservation so it's always good to reinforce awareness and let people know how they can conserve, while thinking of new and innovative ways to reduce consumption."

Familiarization with simple energy saving techniques is a vital step in correcting poor energy saving habits.

"I recommend using natural lighting whenever possible, but also the use of florescent lighting can make a big difference," said Kenneth Domako, 30th CES chief of portfolio optimization.  "When you leave a room, shut the lights off.  It's important that we remember we have one planet with limited resources."

In times of fiscal uncertainty, it is paramount to understand the possible repercussions of energy abuse.

"There's also a big financial aspect involved," said King. "As stewards of the taxpayer's dollars we have a responsibility to try to reduce spending in all areas, to include government utility bills. The more money we save in one area, the more money we have to spend on the mission."

In an effort to make a positive impact on energy conservation, The Air Force Civil Engineer Center has proposed a 20 megawatt solar photovoltaic array be built at VAFB.

"The location, where old east housing was, is about 200 acres and we will use nearly 180 acres to put in a 20 megawatt plant," said Domako. "It will tie directly into the base grid and will equal energy savings as soon as it's initiated."

With construction estimated to begin in September of 2015, the solar array should generate roughly 37,387 megawatt hours of electricity per year, enough to provide 25 percent of the base's energy needs. 

"We are estimating the addition of the solar plant to equal a savings of 1.3 million dollars annually," said Domako. "However, in the meantime, we need to continue to focus on what we can do right now and that means understanding every light we shut off makes a difference. It's all about the cumulative effects. If everyone on base just shut off half of their lamps, it would equal tremendous energy savings."