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News > AFSC ‘energy czar’ says center making strides in reduction
AFSC ‘energy czar’ says center making strides in reduction

Posted 8/29/2013   Updated 8/29/2013 Email story   Print story


by Brandice J. O'Brien
Tinker Public Affairs

8/29/2013 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla.  -- In fiscal 2013, the Air Force Sustainment Center has saved $1.76 million in energy cost avoidance. Additionally, there has been a 2 percent decrease in fuel use in the center's vehicle fleet. The achievements can be credited to the outstanding efforts made by personnel, under the guidance of unofficial energy lead, 72nd Air Base Wing Vice Commander Col. Stephen Wood.

In the summer of 2012, center senior leadership devised a strategic plan, comprised of five goals and 18 objectives. Objective 4.1 -- Reduce energy consumption by 5 percent annually -- is dedicated to energy conservation efforts. Based on his 24-year Air Force career, in which much time has been spent in civil engineering, Colonel Wood was unofficially named the lead of the objective.

"We're here to do what's right for the Air Force and the environment. We're finding ways to do the mission and do it with less energy, which means less cost," said Colonel Wood. "Air Force Sustainment Center bases are three of the top five energy-using installations in the Air Force and it's not an enviable position to be in. But, it also identifies a lot of opportunities to make a difference for our Air Force from a cost perspective."

Colonel Wood said in addition to AFSC Commander Lt. Gen. Bruce Litchfield's goal of an annual energy reduction rate, he has several goals he'd like to see come to fruition. They include raising energy awareness and conservation measures across the three installations to ensure long-lasting energy-savings success.

To achieve these goals, Colonel Wood has researched the strengths, weaknesses and climate of the three bases and has encouraged standardization of processes where applicable. While each base will do what's best for their installation, the colonel has encouraged shared practices when feasible.

"The way I do things is get the data, identify shortfalls and then enable teamwork to share ideas for success," he said. "I liken my efforts to being a football coach. I rely on the installations to do their basic blocking and tackling. That is, there are certain things each installation has to be doing no matter what -- identifying conservation measures, conducting business-case analysis and resultant payback periods to determine if they're feasible, and competing for dollars to implement. Where I've put my efforts is in identifying impediments to installation success and sharing possible solutions.

"Beyond that, I'm looking for other opportunities or roadblocks that we can leverage based on our common experiences," Colonel Wood said. "There's no magic answer to energy conservation. It's about hard work and having folks roll up their sleeves and understand what's going on at their installations and in their facilities and taking steps to make a difference."

Colonel Wood meets with the three installation's energy teams via a video-teleconference once a month. They update him with progress reports and brainstorm new energy-conservation methods.

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