October observance encourages cost-saving reduction measures

David Foltyn, a systems integrator with Johnson Controls International, monitors the computer readouts of Fort Lee’s Energy Management Control System. From the computer station, operators can manage the HVAC systems in roughly a third of the installation’s buildings. The system has resulted in efficiencies that can be translated into cost savings in the millions.

October is National Energy Action Month and representatives of the Fort Lee Directorate of Public Works – Environmental Management and Operations and Maintenance divisions – are asking everyone in the community to renew and/or reinvigorate efforts to reduce waste, recycle and save energy.

Our 2019 EAM theme, “Energy Resilience Enables Army Readiness,” reinforces the fact that secure and reliable access to energy, water and land resources is vital for the Army to perform its mission and support global operations.

The EAM campaign encourages us to evaluate the way we use energy on Fort Lee and to be aware that excessive waste, lack of discipline or intentional non-compliance are detrimental to the mission of the Soldiers and civilians working on the installation. We need to reduce our daily consumption of energy, water and fuel to the greatest extent possible in order to have a positive impact on our annual budget and use our resources wisely. Other cost savings are captured when we divert trash from landfills through recycling and repurposing; when we walk versus driving or use electric or hybrid vehicles; and so on.

The garrison energy manager for DPW will have personnel at the Main Exchange on Oct. 7; the PXtra on Oct. 14; and the Commissary on Oct. 23, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The teams will hand out information detailing how every community member can reduce their energy consumption on post and at home. During the observance, installation leaders are encouraged to create and support efforts that will bring more attention to eliminating waste and increasing energy efficiency.

Heating season is approaching and the “thermostat” set-point for facilities on post is 72 degrees Fahrenheit plus-or-minus two degrees as stated in Fort Lee Policy 10-6, which is in compliance with Army Regulation 420-1. The use of personal space heaters requires written supervisor approval and must not be used to circumvent the heating standards.

Recommended measures to increase indoor warmth during the heating season include opening window blinds to let sunlight in; keeping doors and windows to the outside or any unheated spaces closed; calling in service orders to replace weather stripping for doors when light is visible; and wearing warmer clothing. Something frequently overlooked is pressing the handicap button to open doors. This results in the doors staying open longer and allowing more cold outside air to enter the building.

The post-wide Energy Management Control System that remotely controls the HVAC system can “see” approximately 85 percent of the total square footage of buildings on Fort Lee.  From the Building Operations Center, the DPW Energy and Utilities Branch can monitor temperature conditions, adjust space temperatures as required, and troubleshoot equipment in all buildings on the system.

Team Lee members are reminded also that Fort Lee Policy 10-06 contains a “no-idling clause” directing that parked vehicles should not be left running for more than 30 seconds. The exception is during winter months when idling only should be long enough to defrost the windows.

Other tips include the following:

  • Set the sleep mode on computer monitors so they power down when not in use during the workday, and shut them off completely overnight and on weekends.
  • Turn off interior lights in unoccupied areas. Turn off outdoor lighting during the day.
  • Look for Energy Star-rated products when purchasing appliances and other electronics.
  • Recycle at home and at work; and buy products containing recycled materials, which is usually indicated on the packaging.

We all can do something to reduce energy consumption, not just in October but throughout the year. Every action represents a step toward protecting the planet and ensuring clean, reliable energy for future generations. 

Anyone with questions or concerns on energy-related issues may contact the garrison energy manager via e-mail at usarmy.lee.imcom.mbx.energy-manager@mail.mil or by phone at 804-734-3167.  Community members are encouraged to check out the energy.gov website for more tips on reducing waste and creating money-saving efficiencies at home. Those experiencing excessively cold or warm spaces to the point that it’s clear the HVAC system may not be functioning properly can report the problem to the Service Order Desk at 804-451-1914.