Leadership and Culture Change Are Paramount to Energy Conservation Goals

By Vice Adm. Bill French
Commander, Navy Installations Command

Shipmates, I need your help and your engagement.

Simply put, we’re using too much energy throughout the shore enterprise and we need to make reducing energy one of our top priorities. Make no mistake:  energy usage reduction is a strategic imperative. Why? Every dollar we spend keeping lights on, powering personal coffee pots and refrigerators, or putting gas in government vehicles is a dollar that we can’t spend elsewhere on the shore – pier and runway maintenance, CDCs, base security – or, far more urgently, return to the fleet for operations – flying, steaming, and training.

A smart meter may look like a normal meter, but this digital device is able to send real time data to data management tools like NSGEM that enable leaders to monitor consumption and make immediate changes.

A smart meter may look like a normal meter, but this digital device is able to send real time data to data management tools like NSGEM that enable leaders to monitor consumption and make immediate changes.

 

We’ve made progress – in the shore enterprise, we used a lot less energy in 2013 than we did in 2003. We’re also making progress in where we get our energy; in 2013, we were able to make or buy a lot of the energy we used in facilities from renewable sources. That’s encouraging, but we’re still have more work to do to meet the SECNAV and CNO’s goals for reducing energy consumption by 2020.

Although we’ve made progress, we have a long way to go and I need your help. This is an all hands effort: Sailor, civilian and contractor; flag officer and seaman alike; spouses and families – everyone plays a part.

So, what are we doing and what can you do? CNIC, in partnership with NAVFAC, has invested in highly efficient heating and cooling systems, designing and building energy efficient facilities, special training for energy and facility managers, and advanced energy management systems. Those systems, coupled with smart meters, give us a snapshot of how much energy gets used in a given building and lets us monitor energy use in real time. Monitoring energy helps us see whether we’re meeting our energy goals, but actually meeting those goals is going to take hard work and a significant change in culture. It’s on both fronts where we need you actively engaged.

We need to turn thermostats down in the winter and up in the summer. We need to charge our personal phones and tablets at home. We need to unplug all the personal appliances in offices throughout the Navy. Just like we employ operational risk management when we embark on missions, we need to employ energy risk management before we plug it in or turn it on.

Another big part of our culture change is engaged leaders and supervisors and a lot of engaged innovation at all levels. Everyone needs to think of – and then implement – their best practices and new ideas to reduce energy usage. I know of a Sailor who buys pizza for his kids when they turn lights off at his house – I can’t buy you pizza, but we need to involve everyone; this isn’t just a job for the energy managers. Navy Region Northwest is saving significant amounts of energy – and money – by using plasma lighting. These are only two examples but my point is this: we need involvement at all levels and all ideas are worthwhile.

Thanks for what you’re doing, stay safe, and remember to think about it before you turn it on!