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Energy Star
Air Force photo by Margo Wright Phillip Starks, maintenance technician, left, and George Morgan, maintenance site manager of the new 72nd Medical Group facility, inspect a rain water collection system that filters and pumps the water to holding tanks where the water can be used through the facility for restrooms and in the cooling tower. Unseen by most, this system saves money, energy and ensures a non-potable water system in case of a power outage. This is one of many energy savers in systems and personnel actions that earned them a federal award for their reduced energy consumption accomplishments.
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72nd Medical Group recognized with Energy Star

Posted 1/11/2013   Updated 1/11/2013 Email story   Print story


by Brandice J. O'Brien
Tinker Public Affairs

1/11/2013 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla.  -- The 72nd Medical Group did it again. For the second consecutive calendar year, the unit won the prestigious Energy Star Award for energy-conservation.

Presented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the award recognizes small businesses that prove they are reducing waste, conserving energy and recycling.

"This is a great testament to the staff of the medical group," said Col. Dean Prentice, 72nd MDG commander. "It took the effort of the entire team to make the medical group the most energy efficient organization as possible.

"This is a great stepping on place as we have moved into our new facility, but the processes we made in the old medical group we brought with us. We plan to continue to lead team Tinker in energy savings," he said. "I am so proud of what the team has accomplished."

The medical group began their energy-conservation efforts in 2009 when Deborah Burge, facility manager for the medical clinic assigned to the 72nd Medical Support Squadron, returned from an Air Force Medical Facility Manager's conference and learned Tinker's clinic was ranked among the worst energy abusers among other clinics in the Air Force. Tinker ranked 59th out of 64 Air Force medical clinics and hospitals.

Its personnel weren't entirely to blame; the medical clinic was more than 50 years old. But, the rating alone was enough to motivate Ms. Burge and her staff. She brought the information back to Tinker and, on a mission, encouraged change. Within a year, there were significant results and in 2010, the group won a "most improved" award presented by the Air Force Health Facilities Division.

The group had reduced energy consumption by 44 percent, and an Energy Star rating of 75 points. Throughout the Air Force, the average Energy Star rating was 36 points.
In 2011, the group continued to persevere and was nominated by the Health Facilities Division and won its first Energy Star award.

In 2010 and 2011, the group turned off lights that weren't being used, added light switches where there weren't any, and replaced incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. Personnel also shut down unused hot water tanks, repaired leaky pipes and weather-stripped exterior doors.

Despite the group's success or the fact they'd be moving out of the dated facility in July 2012, Ms. Burge and her team kept pursuing excellence in energy-conservation efforts. The team submitted work orders to repair processes that wasted an exorbitant amount of energy, including a leaking underground steam system. Personnel also performed minor renovations and upgrades on the lighting, installing a sensor system in the bathrooms and conference rooms, and they set back the heating, ventilation and air conditioning temperatures during evenings, holidays and weekends.

"This was no small undertaking," said Lt. Col. Michael Bruhn, 72nd MDSS commander. "We were dealing with a 50-year-old building and trying to make it current."

Their efforts worked. In 2012, the old facility was rated 35 percent better than the standard building in terms of energy conservation, and against previous years, the medical group reduced its energy consumption by 49 percent.

"This is quite the testament to Deborah Burge and her team to accomplish everything they did with an old building," said Britton Young, Tinker's Energy Team point-of-contact in the 72nd Air Base Wing Civil Engineering Directorate. "I'm proud of the med group; they've found ways to save and not sacrifice the mission and that's what it's all about."

According to the Health Facilities Division, the old clinic was in the top 25 percent of energy conserving medical healthcare facilities in the country, scoring 77 out of a possible 100 points. The Health Facilities Division again nominated the old medical clinic for an Energy Star and Tinker was one of seven recipients in Air Force Medical Service to receive a 2012 Energy Star.

"This is an exciting thing and it really matters for us. It rewards the hard work of the medical group," Colonel Bruhn said. "It shows the 72nd Medical Group is focused on helping the environment, not just our patients. We do both of those on a daily basis."
72nd Medical Group personnel moved to the new clinic in July. The previous building was demolished in October.

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