Secure today's energy, fuel tomorrow's mission

  • Published
  • By Gary Krivokaich, Resource Efficiency Manager
  • Holloman Energy Department
The Air Force theme for Energy Awareness Month is "Secure today's energy, fuel tomorrow's mission."

This theme really hits home at Holloman with $18,000 a day in energy costs. The goal, however, is to reduce this cost by more than $5,000 a day by 2015.

As an example of reducing cost here on Holloman, 2nd Lt. Kevin Diefenderfer, Holloman energy manager and I, changed out incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent lamps at the Raptor's Nest.

During their lifetime, the CFL lamps at the Raptor's Nest will each save up to $36 in energy costs. The total change out to CFLs at the Raptor's Nest will save more than $2,000 a year.

Even though your bill at home is most likely much less than $18,000 a day, you can take the same type of action at home to reduce your energy costs.

We compiled tips from three sources that you can use. The tips are from Energy Star, Public Service Company of New Mexico and El Paso Electric. Some of the tips require no investment or have a small cost with a short payback.

Here is the combined list of tips:

· Lighting is one of the easiest places to start saving energy. Replacing your five most frequently used bulbs with Energy Star qualified lights, like CFL's, can save $70 a year in energy costs. These bulbs provide high-quality light output, use 75 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer than standard incandescent light bulbs, saving money on energy bills and replacement costs.
· Remember to always turn off your lights when leaving a room. Turning off just one 60-watt incandescent bulb, that would otherwise burn eight hours a day, can save about $15 a year. 

· The exterior of your home -- the outer walls, ceiling, windows and floor -- is called the "envelope" or "shell." Sealing and insulating the "shell" can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs or up to 10 percent on total annual energy bills. 

· Check all exterior doors for air leaks and weather-stripping -- caulk as needed. A one- eighth inch gap around a door is equivalent to a six-inch square hole in the side of your house and causes a lot of energy loss. 

· Check your heating, ventilation and air conditioning filter once a month and replace it at least every three months. As much as half of your household energy use goes to heating and cooling. Also, lowering your thermostat by just one degree in the winter or raising it one degree in the summer can reduce energy use by three percent. 

· Seal off unused rooms as long as the room is less than 100 square feet and is not the room where the thermostat is located. Close the floor or wall registers and return air vents and keep the doors closed. 

· Consumer electronics play an increasingly larger role in your home's energy consumption, accounting for 15 percent of household electricity use. Many consumer electronics products use energy even when switched off. Use a power strip as a central "turn off" point when you are done using equipment. Unplug battery chargers or power adapters when equipment is fully charged or disconnected from the charger. 

· Most home office equipment is left on 24 hours a day. Office equipment set automatically to switch to sleep mode not only uses less energy, it runs cooler and helps the equipment last longer, allowing for savings on air conditioning as well. Avoid using a screensaver when your computer monitor is not active. 

· With a new two and a half gallon-per-minute, low-flow, showerhead, a 10-minute shower uses about 25 gallons of water, saving you six gallons of water over a typical bath. A new showerhead also saves energy, up to $145 each year if you have an electric water heater or $50 if you have a natural gas water heater, beating out both the bath and an old-fashioned showerhead. 

· In the winter, your ceiling fan helps improve your comfort. Most fans have a switch that allows you to reverse the motor and operate the ceiling fan in the opposite direction. This produces a gentle updraft, which forces warm air near the ceiling down into the living space. In the summer, check to make sure your fan is blowing air downward to help you feel cooler. 

· During cold weather, take advantage of the sun's warmth by keeping drapes open during daylight hours. This is most effective on the south side of the house. However, be sure to close the drapes at night to keep the cold out. To keep out the heat of the summer sun, close window shades and drapes in warm weather. 

· Use the right size pot on stove burners. A six-inch pot on an eight-inch burner wastes more than 40 percent of the burner's heat. Also, cover pots and pans to keep heat in. This can save about $36 annually for an electric range or $18 for gas, and it helps keep the kitchen cooler. 

· When used properly, a programmable thermostat with its four-temperature settings can save about $180 a year in energy costs. It's a common misperception that it takes more energy to cool off or heat up a house than it takes to keep it cool or warm all the time. Turning up the thermostat in summer or down in winter will always save energy. 

· Set your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Savings resulting from turning down your water heater temperature are based on reduced standby losses and consumption. If the thermostat is set to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, your water heater can waste anywhere from $36 to $61 annually in standby heat losses and more than $400 in demand losses. 

· Insulate the pipes around the water heater and air conditioner with inexpensive, easy-to-install pipe insulation. 

· Do not over-dry your clothes. A dryer operating an extra 15 minutes per load can cost you up to $34 every year.

For more information please refer to in the at home tips section; in the winter energy efficiency tips sections; and in the winter energy savings tips section.

If you have an idea for saving energy at Holloman, contact the base energy department at 575-572-3931 and ask for Gary Krivokapich.