Yokosuka residents work up a sweat over base energy restrictions
August 18, 2006
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Sailors trying to crank down the thermostats in their barracks rooms at Yokosuka Naval Base found out the hot way this summer that the dial wouldn’t go any lower than 25 degrees Celsius, or 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
“It’s hot!” reads the trouble log in one of the barracks. Another entry: “A/C isn’t working!” And still another: “Too hot in rooms!”
To those heating up under the base’s new energy-saving 25-degree summer policy, base energy manager James Korcal advises buying a fan and knowing that cooler weather is just around the corner.
It’s unlikely the mercury inside is going any direction but up, Korcal said. Last year, Navy thermostats were set at 24 degrees. This year, it’s 25 degrees. In the future it may move to 26 degrees — over 80 Fahrenheit — in order to conserve energy.
Not all Navy buildings have thermostat controls like the new barracks do, which makes the conservation policy largely voluntary, he said.
“Everyone has to do their part here,” Korcal said. “We need to push our energy supply so it will last longer and save the government money.”
The Energy Policy Act of 2005, signed into law by President Bush, calls for a two-percent reduction in energy used each year by the federal government. In response, Commander, Navy Installations Command had Navy bases worldwide go to “Common Output Level 3” this year (see sidebar).
Energy costs are a particularly sensitive subject for U.S. installations in Japan. While Japan pays for most of the utility bill, the U.S. military must pick up the rest. That cost can be high due to Japan’s heavy reliance on foreign energy sources, according to a Yokosuka base energy instruction.
Last year’s conservation crackdown netted $276,000 in energy savings at Yokosuka, Korcal said.
“Exact figures are difficult to calculate at this time since it is the first season for this baseline,” Korcal said. “But intuitively we all know that raising the A/C temperature 2 degrees F saves energy and that is what we all are trying to accomplish.”
Naval Air Facility Atsugi and Sasebo Naval Base also are having 25-degree summers. Air conditioning accounts for 30 percent of energy spending at NAF Atsugi, Masayuki Tsuchitani, NAF’s energy conservation manager, told the Skywriter newspaper last week. Atsugi spends $5.5 million to power base buildings alone, not counting the housing areas, he said. The base also is installing motion-detector lights in parking structures, along the flight line and in the base’s public restrooms, he said.
Sasebo’s Public Works is following the 25-degree policy — and taking it one step farther, said base spokesman Charles Howard.
“Our public works folks are telling people that if they can be comfortable, to set thermostats to 27 degrees,” Howard said.
But some people, even those who support energy conservation, say it’s too hot, Korcal said.
“Air conditioning and heating is difficult, as different people have different comfort zones,” he said. “If you’re from Maine, this may be uncomfortable. If you’re from Florida, then you’re used to it.”
For more information on Yokosuka energy policy, or Navy energy policy in general, visit www.cfay.navy.mil/Energy.htm.
Common Output Level Three: What it meansDEFINTION: Utility is available to marginally meet mission requirements with major difficulty. Significant mission adjustments due to lack of funding. Forced conservation is required due to funding shortfalls:
Heating and air conditioning availability delayed/interrupted no more than four weeks.Thermostats adjusted lower than 68 degrees in winter and/or higher than 78 degrees in the summer.6 percent to 10 percent reduction required in discretionary electricity usage (e.g., ball-field lighting, decorative lighting).6 percent to 10 percent reduction required in discretionary steam usage (e.g., office spaces, MWR facilities).6 percent to 10 percent reduction required in discretionary water usage (e.g., irrigation, recreational facilities).Water rationing for no more than two weeks.Source: Commander, Navy Installations Command
— Allison Batdorff