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Energy Awareness Month: Energy savings growing at Incirlik

The 39th Civil Engineer Squadron and their counterparts are continuing efforts to reduce energy use and expenses for Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Visions for energy reduction include the installation of a new solar hot water system; the update of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; and  advocating closer attention to the use of utilities in day-to-day activities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael B. Keller/Released)

The 39th Civil Engineer Squadron and their counterparts are continuing efforts to reduce energy use and expenses for Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Visions for energy reduction include the installation of a new solar hot water system; the update of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; and advocating closer attention to the use of utilities in day-to-day activities. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Michael B. Keller)(Released)

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- There is almost always room for improvement when it comes to energy savings, and it's no different for Incirlik. Thus, the 39th Civil Engineer Squadron and their counterparts are continuing efforts to reduce energy use and expenses for the base.

"There are a lot of different opinions on what is the best alternative energy, (but) we don't have a preference. We're looking at what we can implement and what makes sense for a particular location," said Maj. John Sevier, 39th Civil Engineer Squadron commander. "We can change people's habits, as well as change the way we source energy.

"Between those two different avenues we can come up with good energy savings and make it better for everyone," he said.

Visions for energy reduction here currently include the installation of a new solar hot water system; the update of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; and advocating closer attention to the use of utilities in day-to-day activities.

"We need to meet our Department of Energy goals," said Artemiz Avci, 39th CES base energy manager. "For example, energy will be a 30 percent consumption reduction from 2003 to 2015."

Meeting that energy goal may not be easy, "which means we need to keep close track of that, and we need to come up with more projects to reduce our consumption," he said. "For this fiscal year program, our five energy projects were approved, and just those five projects can help us reduce our energy consumption by 2 percent. Anything helps; we just need to make sure we're meeting our goal in fiscal year '15."

Each project is estimated to reduce energy savings in both consumption and fiscal funds. Some of the imperative calculations made with each project include estimations of potential energy conservation and determining monetary cost, as well as revealing the savings beyond the cost of the project.

"Oftentimes, you'll see two numbers. You'll see the payout when you have recouped the amount spent on the equipment or project; and then in many cases there's the time that it takes to recoup your investment plus anything beyond that, which becomes your savings," Sevier said.

It's the difference between buying something cheap that has to be replaced in five years versus buying something more expensive that generates savings and also lasts much longer, explained the civil engineer squadron commander.

"We are inserting all technical numbers into the BLCC program, the Building Life Cycle Cost analyzing program. We are seeing how much we are saving, how much we are paying, how many years economical payback to us," said Osman Sanliturk, 39th CES electrical engineer. "After these calculations, we know (the) savings for each project. Then we compare our consumption ... If projects are completed, we'll save 2 percent" in energy consumption.

Two of the more significant projects include the replacement of HVAC systems in multiple facilities, which combined are more than halfway completed; and the installations of solar panel systems at varying facilities is in the beginning stages. Combing just those projects, the 39th CES estimates an annual savings of nearly $1 million.

"One project we're really looking forward to, mostly because there's been a generational jump in technology, (is improving) solar heating capability,
Sevier said. "There are a lot of solar panels on roofs around Incirlik already; those are older solar panels that are not nearly as efficient, as there have been technological innovations in the years since those were installed.

"The solar cells have become more efficient. The ability to heat water has become more rapid. It's more sustainable over a longer period of time based on the energy that it absorbs," he added. "I think we're looking at close to a (significant) increase in capability."

A smaller, but equally significant, initiative occurring on base includes the encouragement for individuals to be more aware of their energy consumption. While one person making positive change may not make a difference in the base's utility bill, multiply people working for change may.

"Most of the issue with energy conservation is it's not something people see the impact of on a day-to-day basis, but there's stuff nobody thinks about: How much energy do the lights consume? How much money do you save by turning lights off?" Sevier noted. "It's the same sort of thing with computers. The monitors are draining electricity. Household appliances are the same, too. When they're plugged in, they're still pulling energy."

Another possibility the civil engineer squadron is considering is the distribution of mock bills to consumers on base. While this idea is far from fruition, as each house is not individually metered, it's an idea that could make residents more aware of how much their over-consuming.

"We're not to that point yet within housing to be able to do it on a house-by-house basis. It's part of the long-range plan. A lot of that is going to depend on how the money flows down to be able to implement it. We know how to do it; we know what we need to get it done. It's just being able to afford it," Sevier said.


"We're just trying to make people more aware of the energy consumption," he added. "We're always looking at trying to find the next best way to save energy."

The base energy manager agreed.

"It's up to us. We can take initiatives ourselves," Avci declared. "October is energy awareness month, but our campaign should last all year."