MacDill makes strides in energy conservation

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shandresha Mitchell
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
Investments in metering systems and high efficiency lighting are producing positive results at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

Starting in 2010, the energy team began metering buildings on the base to discover energy inefficiencies, and also as a means of measuring the effectiveness of subsequent energy savings initiatives.

"Meters were the first step because we had to know what was being used and where," said David Walker, MacDill AFB energy manager. "The metering system is the core of it all; it allows us to identify a problem, the solution to the problem and then measure the return on that investment."

Meters allow a precision that was not possible to that point, Walker said.

"Before it was just estimation, a calculation on paper, now it's real world data."

Once meters were installed, a lighting upgrade program began. So far, approximately 25 percent of base lighting has been converted to light emitting diode technology; the fixtures generate an average 62 percent wattage reduction.

"Lighting is approximately 22 percent of the total base electric load," said Col. Peter Santa Ana, commander of the 6th Mission Support Group. "We anticipate a 13 percent reduction in MacDill's energy intensity through lighting conversions without any impact on operations or changes in facility use. We have already realized a 3 percent reduction in our energy intensity."

Operation and maintenance costs have also been reduced.

"The responsibility of having to purchase or replace lamps is now taken away from the Airmen," said Walker. "These products have a 10-year warranty."

At the end of the day, reductions in energy use translate to dollar savings for MacDill, and the Air Force, said Walker. Those funds can then be applied to other mission needs.

"The purpose of these initiatives is to save resources in the form of dollars," commented Walker. "Everyone is being squeezed within their budgets; if we can save on a consumable like the utility bill, the budget doesn't have to be cut elsewhere."