Fort Riley, Kansas

 

News

Home electric users hold power

By Andy Massanet | 1ST INF. DIV. POST | October 20, 2017

     The month of October is Energy Action Month and is a time for everyone to become enlightened about how to conserve.

     While personnel from the Utilities and Energy branch, Directorate of Public Works seek ways to assist in the design and implementation of methods to conserve energy in official buildings, a large portion of the consumption of energy at Fort Riley is in the private residences. According to Dan McCallister of that branch, a rough estimate of private consumption of energy on post is “about 30 percent.”

      That means upgrading official buildings is only part of the solution.

     “We’ll work with the engineering branch to figure out how we can implement energy conservation measures in the projects they are doing,” said Antonio Cervantes, an engineer for the Utilities and Energy branch. “But, it’s important for us to inform people (on saving energy). There is only so much that we can do as far as conserving energy in the home.”

     Cervantes said sometimes it’s the seemingly small things that add up to inefficient energy practices: leaving lights on, or tricking an air-conditioning unit to stay on.

      “So we are trying to keep people aware and say ‘hey, if you can do your part, then all the better,” he said.

     Cervantes and fellow engineer Hadassa Baker engaged the community with a demonstration and information table at the Post Exchange Oct. 13. It was there that they discussed with visitors some practical measures for conserving energy in the home, including the prudent selection of light bulbs.

     One of those visitors was Staff Sgt. Stanmore Hinds, a trumpet player for the 1st Infantry Division Band. His mother, who lives in Montgomery, Alabama, asked him to change all the bulbs in her house to the LED type.

     “She had an aneurysm and can’t get around too well,” Hinds said. “So she had me change out the bulbs in her house to LEDs so they wouldn’t burn out and she wouldn’t have to keep changing them.”

      According to a demonstration conducted by Baker and Cervantes at the PX, while the life of an ordinary incandescent bulb can be charted in months depending on use, the life of the LED bulbs Hinds installed for his mother can last more than 22 years.

      “I was really surprised at how much brighter they are too,” Hinds said. “Plus, they don’t get as hot as the regular bulbs.”

      The incandescent bulbs on display at the PX quickly grow too warm for touching. That’s because they draw 60 watts of power, compared to just 11 watts by the LED bulbs.

     And while the new bulbs haven’t realized a money savings yet — “I just put them in this month,” Hinds said — such savings should be coming.

      “I’m sure that’s part of the reason she did it though,” Hinds said, “knowing her.”

      A middle of the road choice between incandescent bulb and the LED bulb is the compact fluorescent bulb, Baker said.  Less expensive than an LED bulb, the CFB uses about 14 watts and lasts over seven years.

 

OTHER ENERGY SAVING TIPS, RESOURCES: 

·         Use the information provided above and change out five of your most often-used bulbs in your house.  You could save $75 each year.  (Source:  Army Energy Action Month literature).

·         Use a power strip for all electronic equipment, not just computers, and turn it off when not in use.  The average yearly savings is about $100 per year and up to 12 percent of your annual electric bill.  (Source:  Army Energy Action Month literature).

·         Adjust your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours a day for an average savings of $83 and up to 10 percent annually on cooling and heating bills.  (Source:  Army Energy Action Month literature).

·         Clothes dryers use a great deal of power because they need to both spin the laundry and produce heat to dry.  Try an energy efficient brand of dryer or, better yet, during the warm months use an old-fashioned clothesline and let Mother Nature do the job (energyusecalculator.com/electricity_clothesdryer.htm).

·         According to the www.energy.gov website other ways to save energy at home include:

·         Choose efficient appliances and use them wisely to save money and energy.

·         Make your own electricity by installing a small solar electric, photovoltaic system at your home.  Also, take advantage of clean, renewable energy by buying “green power.”

·         Make smart driving choices to reduce your environmental impact and reduce your fuel use and costs.  Also, be aware that both the vehicle you choose and how you drive that vehicle affect your fuel use, transportation costs, and environmental impact.  Whether you’re commuting long distances or making short trips around town, your driving choices matter.

·         Windows, doors, and skylights are significant components in the home.  Ensuring they are as energy efficient as possible can save energy; reduce heating, cooling, and lighting costs; and improve the comfort of your home.

·         Insulation in your home provides resistance to heat flow.  The more heat flow resistance your insulation provides, the lower your heating and cooling costs.  Properly insulating your home not only reduces heating and cooling costs, but also improves comfort.

       Heating your home uses more energy and costs more money than any other system in your home  --  typically making up about 42 percent of your utility bill.

       No matter what kind of heating system you have in your house, you can save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining and upgrading your equipment.  For those wanting to know more about what they can do to save energy at home, there is www.energystar.gov.  Created in 1992 by the Environmental Protection Agency it helps set standards for a wide range of products that claim to be energy efficient.  It also provides guidance to consumers.