Navy's energy-conservation moves at Naples draw heat
July 12, 2006
NAPLES, Italy — Grin and bear it: That’s just about all Navy officials can tell base employees who complain about warmer-than-comfortable temperatures in their air-conditioned offices.
In Italy, temps have hovered between the high 80s and low 90s, though with the humidity factored in, it can feel hotter.
Last fall, the Navy Installations Command directed all shore bases to save energy and money through what is called the Utilities Common Output Level, which includes changing the minimum and maximum office temperatures.
Navy office and public building temperatures must be set at a minimum of 78 degrees in the summer and maximum of 68 degrees in the winter under the current level of COL 3. There are four levels, with COL 4 being the most drastic or severe.
Some employees are complaining, said Lt. Adam Perrins, the regional utilities program manager at Naval Facilities Engineering Command Europe.
While some are letting off steam by simply grumbling about it in the dining facility and base cafe in Naples, others are opening windows or using fans.
That’s counterproductive, Perrins said.
“The [plan’s] purpose is to conserve energy and save money,” he said. “Opening windows or running fans, well, that defeats the purpose.”
He said some tips to keep offices cooler include closing shades and curtains, turning off overhead lighting and turning off computers at night.
“We’re getting a fair amount of complaints. We’ve tried to educate people, telling managers, ‘Hey, the gym is going to be hotter. Hey, offices are going to be a little hotter.’ We’re all expected to do our part to save money, and this is an acceptable risk for our support on the war on terrorism.”
Conditions are worse at Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily, and Naval Support Activity Souda Bay, Crete, where buildings are older and don’t have improved heating and air-conditioning systems, Perrins said.
Public works and facilities personnel are not going to monitor who is and who isn’t using a fan or cracking a window, however, said Chief Petty Officer John Musser, a Navy spokesman.
“They’re just asking that everyone help out, the honor system,” Musser said.
Base residents can control temperatures in their homes and are not affected by the plan.
At Gricignano, Navy officials have deviated from the policy because maintianing buildings at 78 degrees was burning compressors. The land is leased form an Italian company, Mirabella, which said the lack of efficiency was outweighing the cost of savings.