How some Pacific bases are reducing energy costs
RELATED STORY:Japan may cut base utility contributions
Every May, U.S. Forces Japan compiles utility usage statistics in an Energy Conservation Report provided to Japan’s Defense Facilities Administration Agency. It includes results of energy savings measures carried out by each base to help keep costs in check.
A look at what some installations are doing to bring down utility expenses:
Sasebo Naval Base, JapanAggressive conservation awareness campaigns and audits are among several efforts to reduce energy bills, according to Charles Howard, a Sasebo Naval Base spokesman.
Practices such as delaying seasonal turn-on dates for heating and air conditioning have been ongoing the past several years.
Officials are considering installing co-generation systems and thermal energy storage.
Howard said the base would continue participating in energy workshops designed to promote technological breakthroughs on energy efficient systems and "put them into operation whenever possible."
Misawa Air Base, JapanMisawa is tackling the challenge of reducing energy costs with several initiatives aimed at increasing efficiency and decreasing consumption, said Lt. Col. Joseph Marcinkevich, the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron commander.
Energy Star compliant appliances are used in family housing while photocells and motion sensors are being installed across the base to automatically turn off lights. Interior and exterior lights are being retrofitted with high-efficiency bulbs, reducing consumption by as much as 68 percent. Solar-powered area lighting has been established elsewhere.
Base traffic lights were recently changed to light emitting diode technology that uses 80 percent less energy.
"We are also engaging the base populace to increase awareness and encourage everyone to save energy," Marcinkevich said.
Misawa is increasing the efficiency of its central heat plants while replacing old and leaking steam lines, he added.
Yokosuka Naval BaseThe Navy is taking a "common sense approach" to energy savings, said base energy manager James Korcal.
By studying weather forecasts, Yokosuka will be able to phase out heating two to four weeks ahead of last year’s mid-April shutoff date, he said.
"We’re not just arbitrarily shutting things off," Korcal said. "We’re taking a smart, reasonable approach and if we get into a cold trend, we’ll make some adjustments."
Air conditioning will be turned on two weeks later than last year, he added.
Keeping base thermostats at 77 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer last year netted $276,000 in energy savings, Korcal said. The base also is building a co-generational power plant that will generate electricity by burning natural gas and create steam.
A presidential executive order in January also calls on bases to cut energy by 3 percent annually, Korcal said.
Yokota Air BaseIn a memo released Feb. 7, Col. Scott Goodwin, the 374th Airlift Wing commander, listed a variety of energy saving measures designed to cut the base’s utility bill.
They include adjusting thermostats in both homes and offices to 65 degrees during the heating season and 75 degrees in the cooling season, turning off all fixed or attached exterior lighting, and removing all personal refrigerators, microwaves and hot plates from offices and only using break room appliances.
"Old habits die hard for many people," said Brian Jarvis, a Yokota resource efficiency manager who helped develop the energy saving plan. "Just getting people to turn off the lights when they leave the room will make a difference and save money."
To help enforce these directives in the workplace, Jarvis said Civil Engineer Energy Management staff and facility managers would conduct spot checks on nights and weekends to make sure base units are complying.
Yokota also is converting the Self-Help Store’s supply of light bulbs from incandescent to more energy-efficient compact florescent bulbs. The compact florescent equivalent of a standard 100-watt incandescent bulb uses only about 10 to 15 watts, Jarvis added.
Marine Corps Bases OkinawaThe Marine Corps on Okinawa is taking several steps to conserve energy on the bases, 1st Lt. Garron Garn, a media relations officer, said in a written response to a Stripes query.
Some include replacing older facilities with new energy-efficient buildings, Garn said. "The new facilities incorporate many energy-saving features, such as increased insulation levels, efficient lighting and room-lighting motion sensors," he said. Japan picks up the cost of construction under its Facilities Improvement Program.
To cool some buildings during warmer months, ice thermal energy storage systems were installed in a Camp Schwab theater and a warehouse on Camp Hansen, Garn said.
"Cooling is required most of the year and the cost of electricity is much higher during the day than at night," he said. "The ice thermal energy storage systems will produce ice during the night when electric rates are at their lowest. The ice will be used to cool the theater and maintenance shop during the day, when the electric rates are the highest."
Other measures taken by the Marines to save on utility costs include:
The purchase of front-loading, high-efficiency, low-water-consumption washers.Replacing existing showerheads with low-flow showerheads, a project begun in 2001. To date, more than 95 percent of showerheads on Camp Butler have been replaced, Garn said.Upgrading lighting fixtures and installing energy-efficient occupancy motion sensors in buildings on Camp Foster.Kadena Air Base, OkinawaThe 18th Wing is very active in efforts to conserve energy and create innovative ways to save money, said Charles Transley, the 18th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Maintenance Engineer Flight chief.
"We have installed timers on many of our [High Volume Air Conditioning] systems allowing us to cut back on nighttime and weekend usage where climate control is not required. Currently, we have several projects and initiatives in various stages of completion," he added.
He said the projects amount to an annual savings of $830,000 and includes replacing lighting in aircraft hangars and Risner Gym, installing water-saving devices in 17 dorms and limiting water usage in dorm washing machines.
"Throughout the year, the 18th Wing also conducts awareness events in order to keep conservation in front of the public eye," said Master Sgt. Jeff Loftin, an 18th Wing spokesman. "Our goal is to help people change their daily routine to appreciate and become efficient users of energy, from simply turning off computer monitors before leaving for the day to only washing clothes when they have a full load. Every little bit counts."
Stars and Stripes reporters Teri Weaver, Jennifer H. Svan, Allison Batdorff, David Allen and Bryce S. Dubee contributed to this report.