Rising energy costs prompt call for conservation at Kadena
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — When using utilities in base housing, Clive Rountree has a basic rule: “Use it like you’re paying for it.”
“That’s because you can be sure the Air Force is,” said Rountree, the base resource efficiency manager.
That’s especially true this fiscal year, when the Wing’s utility budget is $10.4 million smaller.
“We’re asking everybody — base units and housing residents — to conserve on energy,” Rountree said Monday. “It’s come down to a budget crunch plus several other factors that we have no control over.”
The first two months of the fiscal year contained 118 additional degree days, meaning more money was spent on air conditioning.
“Also, the government of Japan has cut the amount of utilities it covers from 80.7 percent to 73.2 percent,” he said. “They are working on weaning us from their support altogether.”
Rountree is employed by Terra Tech EMI, which has people on Air Force installations figuring how to save on energy consumption. He said Pacific Air Forces has a utility budget shortfall of $70 million.
“Utility costs are up all over the board,” he said. “Fuel oil costs us $2.13 per gallon this year, up from $1.33 per gallon; electricity has gone up from 11.85 cents per kilowatt hour to 13.8 cents; water’s up from $8.36 per 1,000 gallons to $9.27.”
In February, Col. Juan Ibenez, 18th Wing Civil Engineer Group commander, told Kadena unit commanders to conserve energy.
“I’m asking you to personally address the need within your organization to aggressively reduce energy consumption where it makes sense and does not compromise mission readiness or safety,” Ibenez told them.
“The Marine Corps on Okinawa is looking to reduce its energy consumption by two percent,” Gunnery Sgt. Chuck Albrecht said. “We’re telling our people it can be done by using simple common sense: Turn the light switches off when leaving a room, adjust your thermostats, turn computers off when not in use, don’t run the water when brushing your teeth.”
A recent study by Rountree found 70 percent of all computers used by base units are left on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Just turning off computer monitors when not in use could save the Wing $1.5 million a year, officials said.
Rountree is making the same conservation pitch to everyone on Okinawa who lives in base housing. The Air Force manages all 8,000 family housing units on Kadena and Marine Corps bases.
His message to housing residents is simple: “TSO — Turn Stuff Off.”
“You’d be surprised at the savings we could have if everyone turned off one 60-watt light bulb for one hour each day,” Rountree said. The savings from the 3,890 housing units on Kadena alone would amount to $11,756 annually, he estimated.
“Right now, we’re begging people to take voluntary measures,” he said. “We all have to remember that this base is here to support the mission — the mission comes first. We have to cut back. We’re not going to park an airplane just to keep the bowling alley open.”
If you have a suggestion for saving on utilities on Kadena Air Base, Clive Rountree, the base’s resource efficiency manager, says he’ll be happy to help you seek a possible cash award through the Air Force’s Innovative Development through Employee Awareness program.
For information, e-mail Rountree at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-7277.