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Energy conservation – saving energy in family housing

Courtesy graphic

Courtesy graphic

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- A large part of Kadena's "energy pie" lies in family housing, which makes up 46 percent of the total energy budget for Kadena, which also means it holds the largest energy saving opportunities.

Chad Beck, 18th Civil Engineer Group installation energy manager, said one of the easiest ways to save energy is by avoiding electricity usage between the hours of 1 and 4 p.m.

If people can plan to be out of the house at that time, it allows the air conditioner to cycle less, he added.

For example, instead of going grocery shopping first thing, people can avoid the lunch rush and go after 1 p.m., thus lowering the heat load in their home, Beck said.

It is also important to try and spread out the energy load throughout the day. Running the dish washer, washing machine and dryer all at the same time creates an energy peak or spike, which can greatly increase energy costs.

The thermostat's set temperature can also be a huge factor in energy savings, Beck said. If every housing occupant raised their thermostat by just two degrees during the summer months, it could save the base over $1 million annually.

It is also important for residents in family housing to be aware of some of the common mistakes people tend to overlook.

"For units with central air, occupants should avoid blocking their return air grills. Doing so forces the system to work harder and consume more energy," said Michael Dalcoe, 718th Civil Engineer Squadron maintenance mechanic supervisor. "It is also important to only use exhaust fans when needed."

Another great way for families to reduce energy costs in base housing is by keeping up with routine maintenance. Most of this maintenance, such as replacing incandescent lightbulbs with compact florescent lightbulbs and replacing air conditioner filters, can be accomplished for free using Eagle Hardware on Kadena.

Each of these energy saving tips may seem small, but with the  largest family housing section in the Air Force, small changes can add up to big savings.