Compiled by the 49th Civil Engineer Squadron Assets Management Office
Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., is constantly looking for ways to reduce energy costs, which can be as high as $18,000 a day. New building plans are reviewed to make sure they are using the latest cost-effective, energy-efficient measures and existing building are being updated to be more energy efficient.
Holloman expects to spend $8 to $12 million in energy conservation projects to meet the 30 percent reduction goal set for 2014.
Recent mission changes have resulted in a large influx of civilians and Airmen relocating to the Alamogordo area. Many civilians and enlisted Airmen have purchased homes or are building homes in the area. With a little upfront planning and an additional 10 percent extra in building costs you may be able to reduce your new home's future energy bills by up to 50 percent.
Save money at home
Proper insulation is probably the single most important step you can take to reduce your energy costs. Insulation performance is measured by R-value -- its ability to resist heat flow. Higher R-values mean more insulating power. Different R-values are recommended for walls, attics, basements and crawlspaces, depending on your area of the country.
To get the biggest savings, the easiest place to add insulation is usually in the attic. A quick way to see if you need more insulation is to look across your uncovered attic floor. If your insulation is level with or below the attic floor joists, you probably need to add more insulation.
Install vapor retarders in non-vented framed ceilings. Since heat travels from the warmer to the colder parts of any system, a properly insulated home will cut back the flow of heat to the outside via your attic. The same insulation will keep your house cooler in the summertime.
Insulate and air seal the attic entrance. Whether you have a pull-down ladder, push-up hatch, knee-wall panel or permanent staircase, it has enough surface area and air leaks at exactly the right high point in your house to cause $50 to $250 a year or more in wasted heating and cooling costs.
Homeowners are often concerned about sealing their house too tightly, however, this is very unlikely in older homes. A certain amount of fresh air is needed for good indoor air quality and there are specifications that set the minimum amount of fresh air needed for a house. If you are concerned about how tight your home is, hire a contractor who can use diagnostic tools to measure your home's actual leakage. If your home is too tight, a fresh air ventilation system may be recommended.
When replacing windows, choose Energy Star rated windows with a U-Factor of .35 or less. A lower U-factor signifies less heat transfer through the glass and a low Solar Heat Gain Coefficient indicates less heat gain to your home. Low Emissive windows can reduce your energy bill up to 15 percent. They do this by reducing the heat transfer through the window. The average life for Low-E windows is 30 years. It can cost from $750 and $950 to replace a window, but in the average home, Low-E windows save between $125 and $450 per year. This is $25 to $110 a year over double paned, clear glass.
Installing Energy Star-qualified windows can reduce energy bills by about seven to 24 percent compared to non-qualified windows. Your estimated savings will vary depending on current heating and cooling costs in your region.
Can't afford new windows or have an historic property? Weatherization of existing windows is an economical alternative to replacement windows and can result in a substantial reduction of energy loss by drafts. Typically, weatherization for existing windows consists of weather stripping and secondary glazing or storm windows. Repair of historic windows is the recommended treatment for historic properties receiving federal or state funding.
Seal Air Ducts and Air Leaks
Air leaking in or out of you home can count for up to 30 percent of your home's heating and cooling costs. Some possible sources of these leaks are leaky heating and cooling ducts; large cracks and gaps in walls and leaks near the attic, crawlspace, around windows and doors and chimneys. Plus look at plumbing chases and electrical outlets. You can use an incense stick near suspect areas and watch the smoke to find any drafts. To determine how tight your house is, an energy professional will use tools such as a blower door to locate air leaks and pressure imbalances. A typical cost to seal air leaks is $604 and results in a savings of $252 per year.
Appliances in a typical home account for about 20 percent of the energy bills, which adds up to about $400 per year. Overall, you can use between 10 and 50 percent less energy with Energy Star-qualified appliances, depending on how old the one is that you are replacing. Upgrade to an Energy Star-qualified dishwasher; it will save you about 25 percent more energy than appliances at the federal standard.
Refrigerators account for about six percent of a home's energy costs. Energy Star-qualified models use at least 10 percent less energy than required by current federal standards, and 40 percent less energy than the conventional models. The higher efficiency adds up to total household energy savings of 5.4 percent on average. As an example, a new refrigerator may cost well over $850 and the annual energy savings are about $120.
Lighting accounts for about seven percent of a home's energy costs. Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs use 66 percent less energy and last up to ten times longer than incandescent bulbs.
If your heat pump or air conditioner is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it with a unit that has earned the Energy Star label. Installed correctly, these high-efficiency units can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.
Most residential central air conditioners are called "split-systems" because they have an outdoor component with a condenser and compressor and an indoor component with an evaporator coil. It's very important to replace both of these units at the same time. Installing a new outdoor unit without replacing the indoor unit is likely to result in low efficiency, and may lead to premature failure of the system. Seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER, is the most commonly used measurement of efficiency for air conditioners. It measures how efficiently a cooling system will operate over an entire season. Energy efficiency rating, or EER, measures how efficiently a cooling system will operate when the outdoor temperature is at a specific level.
Air conditioning maintenance is very important after installation. Incorrect refrigerant level can lower efficiency by five to 20 percent and can ultimately cause premature component failure, resulting in costly repairs. Also, change the filters at the manufacturer-suggested schedule.
Programmable thermostats offer savings, comfort and convenience. A programmable thermostat costs $85 to $125 and can save $100 to $300 per household per year on heating and cooling costs and make your home more comfortable. You can set a program for your thermostat to follow, so you don't have to think about adjusting the temperature manually.
It usually costs three times as much to heat the same amount of water with electricity as it does with gas. If you have an electric water heater and a gas furnace or stove, you may save money in the long run if you extend the gas line to your water heater. The energy factor, or EF, of the water heater will tell you the efficiency of the unit. The systems available are electric resistance water heaters with an EF in the range of 0.7 to 0.95; gas water heaters with an EF of 0.5 to 0.62; oil water heaters ranging from a 0.7 to 0.85 EF; and gas condensing and gas tank-less water heaters with an EF of 0.8.4
Older toilets use about 3.5 to 7 gallons per flush. Low flow toilets use only 1.6 gallons per flush and save your family between 8,000 and 20,000 gallons of water per year, per toilet. This could add up to $50 in savings per year in Alamogordo.
Low flow faucets have aerators in them to cut your water usage. They can use about 35 percent less water than conventional faucets. Pressure regulated high-efficiency or high-performance shower heads save about 40 percent of the water required by conventional showers because they reduce the water flow from 2.5 Gallons per Minute to about 1.6 GPM. These measures also save energy because you use less fuel to heat the water. The payback for faucets is three years and for showerheads, it's one year.
Save money at work
Turn off all non-required lighting
Turn off printers, monitors and equipment when not in use
Turn off radios, fans and space heaters or if at all possible, do not use space heaters
Make sure doors and rollups are closed when heating or cooling is on
Purchase Energy Star appliances and fixtures
Replace incandescent light lamps with compact fluorescent lamps
Consolidate refrigerators to the break rooms
Put TVs and DVD players on a power strip and turn them off; they still consume energy on idle
Use hot water sparingly
Report outdoor lighting that is on during the day to your facility manager
Adjust thermostat to Air Combat Command settings, check with your facility manager
If you have any energy saving ideas or suggestions for Holloman, contact the Resource Efficiency Manager at 572-3931.