Panama City - By the year 2015, the United States Air Force must meet a federal mandate to cut energy consumption by 30%. Tyndall Air Force Base is well on it's way to reaching that goal. Last year Tyndall cut electricity use by 8% and natural gas by 16%.
Jonathan Caldwell has a big job. He oversees the amount of energy Tyndall Air Force Base's 500 buildings use each day. And lately, he's been busy, making sure they use less. "This is the solar water heater we use for our showers and this is the solar array for generating electricity," explained Caldwell, from the roof of the fitness center.
The base has implemented several energy and water conservation projects over the last few years. One of the largest is the Platinum LEED certified fitness center. "We incorporate some of the best in sustainable design. Not only do we have solar panels that create electricity and solar water heating that helps with our showers, we also incorporate natural light shelves which means we use less energy for lighting. And we have efficient chillers, that means we use less electricity to provide air conditioning," said Caldwell.
Set to be installed at the Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency this week: solar panels that will save $10,000 a year in electricity. "This photovoltiac array will help us reduce our electrical consumption by about 100,000 kilowatt hours a year," said Paul Carnley, an Energy Conservation Expert with AFCESA.
Another major energy saver: a system that controls the AC inside facilities all over base with just the click of a mouse. A "cool roof" and ground source heat pumps are just some of the features that make the base's newest dorms energy efficient. "Our budget climate is getting worse and so we see budget cuts coming, our efforts to save energy translate into saving money," said Caldwell.
Caldwell says he's pleased with their progress at the base so far, but they've got to maintain focus on the future.