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Tyndall aims for base, Air Force energy goals

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- As the largest consumer of energy in the Department of Defense, the Air Force has developed a two-part strategy to reduce energy consumption and waste. 

"This strategy of assured domestic supply and aggressive energy conservation will benefit our entire Air Force, but we need all Airmen to do their part," said Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne in his latest Letter to Airmen, which addresses energy use in the Air Force. 

In the letter, Secretary Wynne recognized the Air Force's commitment to conservation and urged every Airman to personally and professionally conserve energy. 

"To assist in our efforts to communicate our energy strategy, every Airman should develop new ways to personally and organizationally conserve energy," he said. "Your efforts in making energy conservation a part of your day-to-day activities will benefit our entire Air Force, and free up precious dollars for other critical programs." 

The Air Force initiative is strongly backed by Tyndall's own agenda to conserve energy.
"The new requirement for Tyndall under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 is to reduce our energy consumption by two percent each year starting in 2006," said Gilbert Walker, 325th Civil Engineer Squadron energy and utilities manager. "Our base is not only going to meet that goal for 2006, but will exceed it by more than six percent." 

Energy consumption increases when equipment and weapons systems are added to operations, especially when additional training sorties are generated. 

"Because of the new squadron of F-22s and the increased number of sorties, reaching our goal means Tyndall will have to work harder to conserve resources," said Mr. Walker. 

Although the Air Force consumes more energy than any other defense agency, it is also the nation's largest purchaser of renewable energy, according to the Department of Energy. 

"As the nation's largest purchaser of renewable energy, we used over one million megawatt hours of green power in 2005," said the Secretary. That amount of energy is enough to power 70,000 homes for one year, he said. 

The Air Force Research Lab here contributes to the "green power" effort by developing solar panels, hydrogen fuel cells and other alternative energy sources. Solar power cells and geothermal heat pump units are already being used to generate electricity at facilities on Tyndall, and similar technology will soon boost energy production for facilities in deployed locations. 

With energy demands steadily climbing, the need for alternative energy technology is becoming increasingly important. 

"Green power accounts for 11 percent of all Air Force electric consumption, which includes 37 Air Force installations," said the Secretary. "We are currently testing and developing several innovative methods of powering ground vehicles with alternative fuels, such as E-85 ethanol, hydrogen and hybrid fuel cell-electric power systems. 

Additionally, our aviation and acquisition and technology communities are aggressively looking for ways to increase aircraft fuel efficiencies through engine and airframe design." 

The Air Force is taking the first step by reducing mission-related energy consumption, but personal efforts in the workplace are just as critical. 

"We have both a tremendous opportunity and a clear responsibility to lead by example with smart energy management," said Mr. Walker.