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Mildenhall to promote energy conservation

Posted 9/21/2012   Updated 9/21/2012 Email story   Print story


by Tech. Sgt. Latisha Cole
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

9/21/2012 - RAF MILDENHALL, England -- When walking through the hallways of the 100th Air Refueling Wing Headquarters, and finding office doors open but lights off, a visitor may initially think the office is vacant. Upon closer investigation, he will find people working diligently. Those working by sunlight are making energy conservation a way of life.

Conserving energy is important not only because it's a federal mandate, it also saves resources and money. In observance of National Energy Awareness month in October, RAF Mildenhall will reiterate the importance of energy conservation and impress upon members the need to make a cultural change toward being more energy cognizant.

"As a society, we need to reduce our carbon footprint," said Steve Perry, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron energy manager. "We are living in a world with precious limited resources, and with an ever increasing growth in population, the resources are not sustainable."

It's necessary for people to make a change now toward being more energy conservative rather than energy wasteful, Perry said.

"What will be left for our future generations if we outstrip our planet?" he asked.

In an effort to motivate airmen to embrace this year's theme, "I Am Air Force Energy," Perry has provided several references and tips on the Energy Management page of RAF Mildenhall's website. Some tips include unplugging electrical devices from the outlets when they are not being used; immediately reporting or fixing water leaks; using heaters and air conditioners sparingly; and turning off the lights in vacant rooms.

"If one person alone switched something off, it would probably go unnoticed, but if 10 people switched it off, that would be noticeable," Perry said. "Now, if the entire base switched something off, it would be significant."

In addition to ensuring unused appliances are unplugged, members are encouraged to recycle.

"Making new products from recycled material actually uses less energy than making the same product from virgin material," said Rory Palmer, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron recycling center manager.

Last year, the base recycled 600 tons of material, saving the installation more than $100,000 thereby decreasing the base's total contribution to the landfills, Palmer said.

As a firsthand witness to the value in recycling, Perry encourages everyone to take a proactive stance in energy awareness through recycling and conservation.

"Don't be afraid to encourage people in your work area to recycle," Palmer said. "If you see people with bottles and paper in their trash cans, say something. Peer pressure is a great tool."

Additionally, Palmer encourages everyone to reduce car trips by condensing errands and walking or bike riding. Before choosing to drive ask the question, "Do I really need to drive to the Bob Hope for coffee or can I walk?"

By embracing these tips and taking active measures to use less energy, airmen can show energy awareness means more than a monthly observance, but instead it's a way of life. As a result, when they observe someone working in the dark or riding a bicycle from the office to the dining facility for lunch, it won't seem odd or rare but just a normal part of the day.

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