Pacific bases are taking measures to cut their energy use as the cost of petroleum and natural gas rises. Here’s a look at what some bases are doing to keep the energy bills down:

JapanAt Yokosuka Naval Base, heating in housing was turned on five days later than it normally would be — a decision made each year based on current temperatures. And industrial and office space areas at the base waited an additional 13 to 30 days, according to Jim Korcal, Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka base energy manager. Housing residents, meanwhile, have been directed to adjust thermostats to 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and heating in industrial areas is being maintained no higher than 55 degrees.

At Naval Air Facility Misawa, the Public Works Department also is setting thermostats in office spaces to 68 degrees — and it’s working with the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron to install lockable thermostat covers on those without control settings, according to its energy plan.

Yokota Air Base has implemented a “No Heat/No Cooling” policy, according to Bradley Abbott, base resource efficiency manager. The plan allows the base to temporarily turn off all cooling or heating when outside air temperatures are mild enough.

Besides cooler indoor winter temperatures and warmer ones in summer, Sasebo Naval Base is reducing the number of vending machines and removing lighting from them and reducing unnecessary street lighting, among other measures, according to base officials.

Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni is trying to conserve an estimated $15,000 in gasoline by testing two electric cars and possibly ordering hybrid vehicles, starting with the commanding officer’s, this summer.

Misawa Air Base, a number of energy conservation projects are under way, including replacing manual-switch porch lights in 2,000 housing units with automated ones that burn only at night. The base also is studying the feasibility of using wind energy at nearby Draughon Range, said William Bunch, base resources efficiency manager.

Officials want to install solar-powered outdoor energy light fixtures at numerous locations around base, including bus shelters, the base beach, trap and skeet grounds, and Davy Jones Locker.

Across base, 215 new energy-efficient washers are being installed in housing units at an annual energy-savings cost of $59,000. Lights with automatic sensors are going up in the fire escape stairwells of 13 housing towers; lights dim after 15 minutes and brighten at the opening of a door. In March, Misawa was the first U.S. base in Japan to replace 3,000 45-watt taxiway lights with 10-watt light emitting diodes (LEDs). The blue-emitting lights don’t burn out and save approximately $83,000 in energy costs annually, Bunch said.

OkinawaOkinawa Marine Corps bases are following direction from Marine Corps Bases Japan’s Environmental Management System, which in the short term monitors fuel expenditures and takes appropriate action taken when necessary, according to Col. James P. VanEtten, assistant chief of staff for G-4 at Camp Foster. In the long term, the command is researching better alternatives to fossil fuels and newer equipment that enhances fuel economy.

One simple act has saved Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, an estimated $400,000, according to Clive Rountree, resource efficiency manager for the 18th Wing Civil Engineering Squadron: turning off the air conditioning in December in several buildings. Another December cost-saving move on the base was a rule requiring residents to turn off holiday lights by 10 p.m.

Rountree said he has submitted several proposals for cutting energy use to PACAF, including a $1.2 million project that would install low-flow devices in showers, sinks and toilets in all dormitories. The move would save $475,000 per year once completed, he said. Other proposals include replacing top-loading clothes washers with front-loading washers in dormitories and billeting and replacing hangar lighting at Kadena’s airfield with T-5 high-output fluorescent lights.

Kadena also has run in its base publications tips for cutting power use at home and work, such as keeping doors and windows closed while running air conditioning and not running bathroom exhaust fans continuously.

“One point we’re trying to make to people is if there is a choice between missions up and running, or swimming pools, guess which one is going to be running?” Rountree said. “It’s to everybody’s benefit to do what they can.”

South KoreaOfficials at Kunsan Air Base keep both housing and work facilities at 68 degrees Fahrenheit. They also instruct new arrivals to the base to shut off lights, computers and monitors at the end of the workday. In addition, 39 of the base’s buildings have occupancy sensors that detect movement and shut off thermostats when no movement is detected. And many offices are equipped with timing controls that shut off heat during non-duty hours.

For Army bases, the Korea Regional Office energy conservation strategy includes eliminating old, inefficient buildings via the Facility Reduction Program; using Energy Savings Performance Contracts to encourage energy conservation; and outfitting buildings with high energy efficiency devices such as rigid exterior insulation, lighting, ground source heat pumps and hot water tank insulation.

No information was available for Osan Air Base or Chinhae Naval Base in South Korea.

GuamAt U.S. Naval Base Guam, officials are looking at raising indoor temperatures a few degrees to reduce utility bills, but that’s a challenge in Guam’s year-round humidity.

“When we raise it too high, we get mold growth and deterioration of the facility,” said Capt. Kenneth Branch, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Marianas commanding officer.

Officials are looking at whether smaller vehicles — including golf carts — could be used to transport people around base.

“We’re not there yet, but we can always start to calculate what would be the impact of a four-day workweek,” Branch said. “That would be an extreme measure.”

Most important, however, is securing funding to upgrade facilities, some of which date to World War II.

“We’re expecting some growth in missions here,” Branch said. “Our intent in the very near future is to be able to articulate in detail what has to be fixed for reliability, energy efficiency and for new capacity requirements.”

12 schools in competition

The schools competing in the 2006 Far East High School Junior ROTC Meet at Yokota Air Base in Japan are Osan American, Seoul American, Pusan American and Taegu American, all in South Korea; Kadena and Kubasaki out of Okinawa; and Japan-based Kinnick, E.J. King, Zama American, M.C. Perry, Robert D. Edgren and Yokota.

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