HomeNewsArticle Display

ArticleCS - Article View

AFSO21 saves Kadena millions in parts, energy bills

Senior Airman Derek Hunter, 18th Civil Engineer Squadron Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration technician, checks electrical circuits on a heating ventilation and cooling system April 21. Kadena recently instituted an initiative through the Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century program to replace the antiquated, outdoor AC chillers with protected, indoor equipment to save the Air Force potentially millions of dollars in parts and energy. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Senior Airman Derek Hunter, 18th Civil Engineer Squadron Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration technician, checks electrical circuits on a heating ventilation and cooling system April 21. Kadena recently instituted an initiative through the Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century program to replace the antiquated, outdoor AC chillers with protected, indoor equipment to save the Air Force potentially millions of dollars in parts and energy. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen)

Senior Airman Derek Hunter, 18th Civil Engineer Squadron Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration technician, thumbs through the remote control to a heating ventilation and cooling system April 21. In the past, Kadena’s HVAC/R shop has had to replace large, outdoor, energy-wasting chiller units for buildings’ AC systems on military installations across the island nearly every three years. Now,  Kadena recently instituted an initiative through the Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century program to replace the antiquated, over-oxidizing equipment with protected, indoor chillers to save the Air Force money. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Senior Airman Derek Hunter, 18th Civil Engineer Squadron Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration technician, thumbs through the remote control to a heating ventilation and cooling system April 21. In the past, Kadena’s HVAC/R shop has had to replace large, outdoor, energy-wasting chiller units for buildings’ AC systems on military installations across the island nearly every three years. Now, Kadena recently instituted an initiative through the Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century program to replace the antiquated, over-oxidizing equipment with protected, indoor chillers to save the Air Force money. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- In the past, Kadena's Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration shop has had to replace large, outdoor, energy-wasting chiller units for buildings' AC systems on military installations across the island nearly every three years.

However, because of the tropical climate of Okinawa, it didn't make sense to continue installing the new equipment outside each building, where it would be exposed to the harsh elements.

That's why in 2009, Kadena instituted an initiative through the Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century program, or AFSO21, to replace the antiquated, ever-oxidizing equipment with protected, indoor chillers to save the Air Force money.

"We're moving the most expensive pieces of these AC units away from the harmful island elements by changing to the internal remote condenser chillers," said Randy Kimura, 18th Civil Engineer Squadron HVAC/R technician. "It was a big waste of money to expose the equipment to the elements the way they were. With the equipment being inside, we can also implement a number of different control strategies to help lower energy usage as well."

According to a recent cost analysis for the initiative, despite the initial cost of the systems, the implementation of the systems will save nearly $100,000 throughout the next couple decades, with an annual savings of $1,200 in energy for one replacement unit alone.

Mr. Kimura said the realized savings from one unit, multiplied by the 43 units already replaced and the many more to come, coupled with the time saved by cutting the HVAC repair work orders down from 600 in the summer to around 35, and the millions of dollars saved will do nothing but benefit Kadena's many squadrons.

"Our engineers did a cost analysis and found that if we replaced a 60-ton chiller, like the one running at the Olympic Shoppette, with an indoor chiller, during the next replacement period, we wouldn't have to replace the entire piece of equipment and it would only be a fraction of the cost for maintenance," Mr. Kimura added. "If you multiply that by 300 facilities over a 15-year period, that's some big savings."

Rudy Gutierrez, AFSO21 wing process manager, said using AFSO21 the way the HVAC/R shop has, is vital to aiding Airmen in the Air Force with better equipment and possibly more quality of life improvements.

"It's important to find ways to save energy in the Air Force, especially with budget cuts," said Mr. Gutierrez. "Our goal is to create a culture within all Airmen to look at processes they take and eliminate the waste. We always want people to know that AFSO21 is very important, and we do that by hosting a day-long AFSO21 class two to three times a month."

Anyone who has an idea to save the wing or Air Force money and possibly contribute to mission success can contact their group AFSO21 representative or e-mail the AFSO21 office at 18wg.afso21@kadena.af.mil.