AAFES goes ‘green’ with energy saving initiatives

  • Published
  • By Times report
  • 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
The Department of Defense's oldest and largest retailer, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service, is embarking on a variety of energy-saving initiatives to reduce its impact on the environment.

From vending machines to gas station canopies, AAFES is implementing "green" initiatives at exchange facilities on Army and Air Force installations across the globe.
"AAFES is a global retailer with more than 3,100 facilities in some 30 countries," said Ann Scott, AAFES' energy program manager. "Considering the size and scope of our mission, it makes sense to evaluate every possible 'green' option available. Fortunately, new opportunities to save energy and increase earnings are growing every day." 

One low-cost option being implemented at Vandenberg is de-lamping vending machines across the base.

"We're going through a de-lamping project where we're turning off all the vending machine lights, so that there's energy savings in all those machines," said Steve Reisbeck, AAFES general manager here. "It was an AAFES initiative for all of our break rooms, but we're implementing it all over Vandenberg."

Recognized as an Energy Star® retailer, AAFES began an aggressive training program in August 2007 to help its main store associates better assist energy-conscious shoppers. Associates at the Four Seasons store here are scheduled take the Energy Star® certification training.

"The training helps the associates effectively communicate the features and inform the customers about energy savings benefits," Mr. Reisbeck said. "They'll learn how to recognize environmentally friendly appliances and electronics."

An on-going Energy Star® awareness campaign is now branching out beyond appliances and electronics as the AAFES stock assortment now features a 20 percent mix of compact fluorescent lighting options, which use less energy and have a longer-rated life than conventional light bulbs. In fact, the base exchange here will feature an end-cap in the hardware department highlighting CFLs.

"The CFL initiative is consistent with the military's goal to cut energy costs and protect the environment," said Maggie Burgess, AAFES' senior vice president of sales. "Compact florescent bulbs will go a long way in meeting these objectives as they use 75 percent less energy than standard lighting and last up to 10 times longer."

"Everybody should be involved in saving energy and trying to be more efficient with things they do because the world doesn't have an inexhaustible fuel supply," Mr. Reisbeck said. "We have to do everything we can to save it."