Incirlik fights war on energy consumption

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- Every six months, a group of war strategists gather to discuss their battle tactics. Their mission is a tough one; the war they are fighting is very unconventional. Many Incirlik members don't even realize this war is happening right here -- in workplaces, throughout the streets and even in homes. This is a war on energy consumption, and the base is doing everything it can to win.

The group's name is the Energy Management Steering Group, and their mission is simple: Map out a plan, with a baseline of 69 MBTU per KSF (1 million British thermal units per 1,000 square feet) in 2003, to achieve a 30 percent reduction in energy use by 2015. To do this, the 39th Civil Engineer Squadron is aggressively moving forward with many "green" projects encompassing area of base operations. Because of their dedication, Incirlik is recognized by the United States Air Forces in Europe and higher headquarters, as one of the most proactive bases when it comes to its energy conservation projects.

"Incirlik is well on-track for continued success in its energy conservation programs," said Jim Brendlinger, Vinnell-Brown and Root Director of Civil Engineering.

VBR is the base's maintenance civilian contracting company.

Projects include consolidating buildings and demolishing excess capacity; expanding the base energy metering program, improving the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; improving the base water distribution system and promoting energy conservation practices for all base members.

"To have an effective energy conservation program, it takes the effort of everyone," Mr. Brendlinger said. "For example, people need to turn unused lights off, close doors and windows when using the [air conditioner], use less water and manage their thermostats."

One base program committed to promoting energy conservation is Operation Change Out. The program offers base residents free compact fluorescent lights from the self help center. On average, one CFL bulb can save about $20 per year on an energy bill.

"The base uses a lot of lights; a lot more than anyone thinks," said Jerry Arnold, VBR Energy Manager. "That's why we're swapping out older incandescent lights with CFLs and at the airfield, we're replacing taxiway lights with very efficient light emitting diode (LED) type fixtures]."

The Wing uses tools such as town hall meetings, training, informational brochures, television and the Commander's Access Channel to inform base members about Operation Change Out and other energy conservation programs.

Another "green" measure the base is taking is the consolidation of facilities. Currently, plans are in the works to have a consolidated community center that will house, the base theater, education center and library. All are currently housed in different buildings.

"If we consolidate areas of base that are highly used, we reduce the amount of energy needed to power them," Mr. Brendlinger said.

The community center consolidation project is one of about 18 base energy conservation projects that have either been recently completed, are in the works or planned for the next three years. The total cost of the projects is about $10.5 million.

"The thing people have to realize about energy conservation projects is that they cost a good amount of money up-front, but they pay for themselves in the long run," said Tom Carneal, VBR Deputy Director of Civil Engineering.

Whether it's fiscal frugality or simple reduction, Incirlik is winning the war on energy consumption.