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Energy conservation begins at Kadena's family housing

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Okinawa military family housing residents must take steps to conserve energy to comply with a new wing utilities conservation policy. 

The policy was created to support an executive order issued in January by President George W. Bush mandating all federal facilities to reduce energy use by three percent starting in fiscal year 2006. The total goal is to reduce energy use by 30 percent by fiscal year 2015. 

Kadena's electric bill for 2006 totaled more than $45 million, half of which came from energy used in military family housing. 

"Residents of military family housing can contribute greatly to Kadena's energy savings by making small changes," said Katie Kirschbaum, 718th CES environmental flight. "Such changes should not seem like sacrifices since our conservation goals are achievable without negatively impacting the quality of life." 

The environmental flight has a list of simple energy-saving steps for families to take to help base conservation efforts. 

"Taking action at home will help the base meet its conservation goals," said Gerardo Salazar, 718th CES environmental flight energy manager. "One of the biggest examples of energy use is the need for air conditioning." 

One way the policy seeks to limit energy waste is by allowing the 18th Civil Engineer Group commander to activate and deactivate heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to coincide with the seasons. Air conditioning is turned on by mid-April and deactivation begins no later than mid-December. In work centers, air conditioning is normally only authorized during duty hours. 

Mr. Salazar recommends relying more on electric fans and less on air conditioners to help save energy in the summer. 

"Two fans, rather than an 8,000 BTUH room air conditioner running four hours a day, will save more than $161 a year," he said. 

Residents can also save energy by replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights. 

"CFL's use 70 percent less energy and last about 10 times longer," Mr. Salazar said. On-base housing residents can pick up free CFL's at the Eagle hardware store. 

Kadena residents can still do their part to help save energy throughout the year. 

"Our biggest challenge is changing the culture," Mr. Salazar said. "Although utilities are free for on-base housing residents, we need to change that mindset and help save the government some money and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases as well." 

For more information on how to conserve energy, call the 718th CES environmental flight at 634-2600.