Conserving Energy One Sailor at a Time

By Capt. Pat Rios
Director, CNIC Facilities and Environmental

From the use of energy-saving technologies and biofuels for our aircraft and ships to the eventual sailing of the Great Green Fleet in 2016, the Navy is leading the charge in incorporating best practices and affordable, domestically produced energy sources within our operating forces. 

While those initiatives can enhance combat capability and overall energy security, they tend to have little impact on the day-to-day life of the Sailor and his family or at home, at work or impact behaviors of his or her family.

Lt. Cmdr. Lakeeva Gunderson, production officer assigned to the Public Works Department of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command at Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, inspects recently installed solar panels at Sullivan Elementary School, Aug. 22, 2012. The solar panels are a building integrated photovoltaic system, which is estimated to contribute $297,000 in projected annual energy savings at the installation. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Matthew R. Cole/Released)

Lt. Cmdr. Lakeeva Gunderson, production officer assigned to the Public Works Department of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command at Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, inspects recently installed solar panels at Sullivan Elementary School, Aug. 22, 2012. The solar panels are a building integrated photovoltaic system, which is estimated to contribute $297,000 in projected annual energy savings at the installation. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Matthew R. Cole/Released)

I want to talk about a program that affects everyone – Sailors, civilians, dependents and contractors. It’s called the Navy Shore Energy Program – the impact of which can be felt across the Navy’s bases worldwide.

Changing the paradigm for how we manage energy on our bases is essential. Energy costs are on the rise and, as global demand continues, we don’t foresee it getting cheaper. To provide some perspective, energy bills for Navy installations equal almost a third of the entire cost it takes to manage all our bases, making it the single largest expense out of our $6.1 billion shore budget.

Turning off the lights when you leave a room is not going to get us the future reductions we need to make. Although basic steps like these are important in order to achieve our goals, we’ve got to take bigger steps and engage in more effective energy conservation and management. Many of these steps are ongoing and already saving the Navy millions, putting us well on the road to reducing our shore energy intensity (energy consumption (MBTU) per square foot (kSF)) by at least half of what we’re using now by 2020.

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In fact, we’ve already reduced shore energy consumption by 19 percent since 2003 and we currently produce or consume 23 percent of our shore energy from renewable sources.  In addition, non-tactical vehicles (NTV) petroleum consumption is down by more than 20 percent since 2005.  These savings are equal to about 83,000 flight hours for an F/A-18 or 3,000 days at sea for a DDG-51.

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