MacDill spotlights National Energy Action Month

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Scott Warner

In September 1991, former President George H. W. Bush declared October as National Energy Awareness Month, also known as National Energy Action Month, to raise awareness on the importance of sustainably managing the nation’s energy resources.

“For our base, the purpose of National Energy Action Month is to bring the topic of energy conservation and security into operational discussions to ensure that we are supporting the federal government’s goal to be the nation’s leader in energy efficiency,” said Mrs. Jadee Purdy, the director of the 6th Civil Engineer Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

During the month of October, the 6th CES focuses its efforts on energy audits around base. The energy reduction results from the last fiscal year are also made public each October.

“Each year, we set new energy reduction goals and from fiscal year 2016 to 2017, we saved $843,342 by reducing our base energy consumption,” said Mr. Mark D. Walker, the energy manager with the 6th CES Energy Management Office.

Although MacDill has reduced its energy consumption by 20 percent since 2011, there is still more work that needs to be done. Most of the projects that the 6th CES now oversees are improvements to the installation’s lighting or heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC).

“Technology has changed so much in the last decade, which gives us an opportunity to cut down on our energy consumption,” said Walker.

As of now, for the 6th Air Mobility Wing, approximately 75 percent of all interior lighting and 80 percent of all exterior lighting have been transitioned to newer, light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs.

“In the base wing headquarters building alone, with the new lighting and HVAC technology fully installed, the building has reduced its energy consumption cost by 53 percent, which is a home run in our field,” said Walker.

When you add up all the buildings across MacDill that have transitioned to the newer, energy-saving technology, the financial savings have been substantial.

According to Walker, between 2011 and 2017, the energy reduction implementations for MacDill have saved a total of $11,343,005.

“As for projects we are working on in the future, we are coordinating with our utility partners to identify ways to be more energy resilient, like potentially adding large solar generation capability, as well as transitioning our overhead utility system to being underground,” said Purdy. “Hurricane Irma highlighted the need to find more ways to ensure that we have consistent, reliable energy and power to accomplish the mission.”

She further added that energy resiliency is the ability to have energy that you need, when you need it.

“MacDill isn’t getting smaller in its population or size and if anything, we are adding more buildings and people on base,” said Walker. “And yet, because of our efforts in energy reduction, each year our energy consumption is going down. That’s why it is important to continue to talk about this now and in the future.”