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Lowering the Corps' utility bill

By Lance Cpl. Brendan Roethe | | March 25, 2014


Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort has been putting a lot of effort into meeting and exceeding Department of Defense and Marine Corps goals for energy efficiency.

The Air Station has met goals for lowering greenhouse gases, improving energy efficiency, using more renewable energy and less fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum and gasoline. The Air Station has also met and exceeded water conservation goals.

"We’ve met our goal but we’re still doing projects to reduce further," said Neil Tisdale, Air Station utilities director and energy manager. "The federal government has set a level of energy for each base to meet and a percentage below that baseline to set as a goal. The Air Station has met and exceeded the federal goal of using 30 percent less energy than the baseline."

"The way we got to where we are right now is through a lot of energy savings performance contract work. We also have a metering project, were we observe all of the major buildings on the base for electricity use. Having meters on buildings helps us know where the most power is going, so that specific areas can be better targeted with projects."

Several projects that have helped reduce energy include changing the lamps on base to reduce electricity use, as well as putting aerators in shower heads, and changing flush valves to significantly drop in water usage.

With 25 percent of the base energy usage consisting of the Bachelor Enlisted Quarters alone, conservation efforts are now targeting the single Marines and sailors.

"By installing [water efficient] shower heads, energy efficient light bulbs and central air units, we are saving a lot of money, but we need the help of individual Marines to do better," said Tisdale. "By unplugging unused phone chargers, turning off unnecessary lights, and being cautious of water usage we can lower the Marine Corps’ energy bill."

Multiple projects are currently waiting for approval to continue improving resource efficiency aboard the Air Station.

By being green and changing personal habits, Marines can work hand in hand with Public Works in saving the Marine Corps’ utility dollars, which could be used for operational and recreational uses. According to a DoD press release, last year the Marine Corps spent $300 million on utilities alone. The money used to power lights, cell phone chargers left in the outlets and other unused electrical devices, are the same dollars that can be used by the Marine Corps for bullets, equipment and troop welfare events.