Conserving energy – Green is Good!

  • Published
  • By Col. Scott Hanson
  • 92nd ARW commander
Fuel and energy conservation is very important for the Air Force and has received much attention in the press lately. I'm proud to say Team Fairchild has a proven record of excellence when it comes to the responsible use of fuel and energy. 

Saving Fuel
The Air Force is the largest consumer of fuel in the Department of Defense and aviation accounts for 95 percent of the Air Force fuel budget. That is why Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne has made fuel conservation an Air Force priority. One way we conserve fuel at Fairchild is by making extensive use of our KC-135 flight simulators. 

Recent changes to AMC instructions allow our crews to complete more training events in the simulator. Crews are now able to utilize the simulator for all required takeoffs, instrument and precision approaches, as well as select tanker rendezvous training.
Simulator events such as these allow our aircrews to train using dozens of dynamic flight environments, and save fuel otherwise consumed on local sorties. 

Over the last decade, Air Mobility Command has invested over $1.4 billion on simulator hardware and software upgrades, including the two we have here at Fairchild. Flight simulators are expected to ultimately save the command $2.3 billion in aircraft fuel, airframe use, and aircraft maintenance over the next six-and-a-half years, according to AMC, aligning with the command's breakthrough-objective of improving energy efficiency. 

Another fuel-saving enterprise occurring at Fairchild is the Air Force KC-135 weight-reduction initiative. Last week we hosted AMC's Col. Jeff Johnson, and a team from the Secretary of the Air Force's staff. Their visit focused on options to eliminate the weight associated with unnecessary equipment carried on KC-135 sorties. 

By removing non mission-essential equipment, the aircraft will be lighter, and in turn, burn less fuel. This initiative will help reduce Air Force fuel usage - saving taxpayer dollars. 

Conserving Energy
Within the last several months, Fairchild has also completed many projects to decrease the amount of energy used to heat and light buildings. When it comes to green power use, we have certainly been good stewards! Last year, 100 percent of our electricity came from renewable sources. 

Upgrading technology is one method we have used to decrease energy use. Last fall we contracted a local power company to retrofit fluorescent lighting fixtures in 23 buildings on base. The new fixtures use more efficient lights. 

Another project installed an infrared radiant heating system and lighting upgrades in Building 2050. The lights are more efficient, and better distribute light. These efforts, and others throughout the base, produced a significant drop in the use of traditional electricity. We continue to improve our programs as we look at fuel and energy consumption through the lens of Air Force Smart Operations. 

Bill Turner and his tremendous team at the 92nd Civil Engineer Squadron take the lead on these initiatives ensuring Team Fairchild exceeds Air Force objectives. 

To put the situation in perspective, Fairchild alone uses $6 million worth of natural gas and electricity annually. I encourage everyone to review your daily routines and discover ways to reduce this cost - this may be as simple as turning off the lights when your day ends. We all have a duty to pitch in this effort. Energy awareness is the first step toward conservation. Please ask yourself, "How can I help?" 

Excellence in All We Do