Protect the power

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Stephen G. Eigel
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs
In 2012, President Barack Obama issued a presidential proclamation declaring October as National Energy Action Month. In the proclamation, Obama called upon Americans to work together “to achieve greater energy security, a more robust economy, and a healthier environment for our children.”

“October is National Energy Action Month. It's a month where we can rededicate ourselves to work toward a more sustainable and energy-independent future,” said Catherine Cook, 18th Wing energy manager. “The Air Force's theme for this year's Energy Action Month is ‘Protect the Power.’ It's a call to action for our Air Force Community including Airmen, dependents, and civilians, to practice energy efficient habits in our daily lives.”

While the Air Force runs many energy awareness programs, it relies on its Airmen and their families to find new ways to save time, money and energy which is why this month is so important Cook added.

“Energy Action Month is important because a lot of people might not be aware of how much energy or water we are using during our day-to-day lives, especially if you don't receive a utility bill,” said Cook. “That's why we try to raise awareness and encourage energy-saving actions here and in military family housing all over Okinawa. We don't want people to drastically alter their daily lives. However, if everyone makes small changes to their energy habits, it adds up and does make a difference.”

Cook added there are many small ways that anyone can help save energy and while they may seem insignificant, they can add up to tremendous savings.

There are several things individuals can incorporate into their daily activities that can help “Protect the Power.”

Some of these include:

-Turn off the lights when not in use, or when daylight is sufficient.

-Turn off power to computers, TVs, and other electronic devices when not in use to avoid wasting power. These types of devices still draw power in standby mode or even just plugged in. Use power strips or advanced power strips to make it easier to turn off power to these types of devices.

-Use a fan to circulate air in a room, which creates a wind chill effect. This will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4 degrees without impacting your comfort. To save even more energy, turn off the fan when you leave the room; fans cool people, not rooms. Keep curtains, shades, and blinds closed on sunny days to help keep your house cooler, particularly on windows facing the sun.

-When you take shower, use the bathroom exhaust fan to remove heat and humidity from your home. However, turn them off when they're not needed as they can remove conditioned air out of your home as well.

-Avoid leaving the refrigerator door open for prolonged periods of time. Know what you want before opening the door.

According to Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, the Air Force must invest in new technologies that will allow it to operate less expensively and cleaner in the future, and more effectively at the strategic level, to preserve this resource without mission compromise.

Without energy, we would not be able to carry out many of our core missions in the Air Force such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; space; and cyber.

“Energy Action Month affects everyone in our Air Force Community and beyond,” said Cook. “Since it's a national observance, other Department of Defense agencies are also participating to increase awareness about energy.”

Cook added the 18th Wing is responsible for the energy programs for all of Kadena AB, Okuma, and all military family housing on Okinawa.

“We tell people to ‘Take a power nap!’ This means trying to reduce our energy usage from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. by cooking or doing laundry in the morning or evening,” said Cook. “Power Nap is an awareness campaign for Kadena because we purchase electricity under a seasonal time-of-day power rate schedule. So we pay the most during peak demand hours of 1-4 p.m. during the months from June to September.”

For more innovative ways to save energy visit