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News > Greening Tinker: Small changes lead to big savings in Bldg. 9001
Story at a Glance
 Bldg. 9001 employees reduce energy usage 13 percent
 Lighting, thermostat changes don't impact production
Greening Tinker
Jason Ford, 551st Commodities Maintenance Squadron aircraft mechanic, raises a KC-135 Stratotanker elevator skin panel to put in the autoclave for metal-to-metal bonding. Similar to an oven baking cookies, the autoclave cures composites under nitrogen pressure and electric heat. Autoclaves are energy hogs and to help keep costs down, workers monitor their usage but are careful not to impact production. (Air Force photo by Brandice J. O’Brien)
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Greening Tinker: Small changes lead to big savings in Bldg. 9001

Posted 9/26/2013   Updated 9/26/2013 Email story   Print story


by Brandice J. O'Brien
Tinker Public Affairs

9/26/2013 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla.  -- The employees working in Bldg. 9001 have earned serious bragging rights.

From Oct. 1, 2012, to the end of August, they have reduced natural gas and electricity energy usage by 13 percent. They achieved that while accepting new workload, heavy-duty machinery and 300 employees.

Employees of Bldg. 9001 accomplished the feat by making small changes throughout the building that proved to be smarter and more efficient.

"That's a higher savings than we've seen in any other facility on base for the fiscal year," said Joseph Cecrle, Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex Energy manager. "It's a behavior thing. People are accepting responsibility and taking action. That's pretty cool."

Changes made were thoroughly planned to ensure there were no negative impacts to production.

76th Maintenance Support Group Energy Manager Dan Mitchell said a team reviewed the scheduling of various units so that lights could be turned off when employees are not present. Automatic light sensors were installed in bathrooms and break rooms. They identified breezeways that lose air and put corrective actions in place to deter that from happening. Five standard commercial garage doors were replaced with overhead rapid-action doors, which close faster and prevent additional air from escaping the building.

"It's amazing how raising awareness gets a door shut around here," Mr. Mitchell said.

The team also turned the thermostats set point to 76 degrees, which enables the facility to remain comfortable while keeping condensation and humidity issues at bay.

They also changed the standard lighting to light-emitting diode, or LED, bulbs in several shops. The plan is to eventually change all of the building's lights to LED bulbs. Light-emitting diodes are said to last 10 times longer than traditional fluorescents and use half the electricity.

Additionally, where feasible, machinery is turned off at night, on weekends and holidays.
"Autoclaves are huge energy hogs. You can actually see them on meters when they come on. They draw out 2,000 amps at 480 volts," said Mr. Mitchell. "We keep a real sharp eye on paint systems, autoclaves, aluminum heat-treat ovens and steel heat-treat ovens and try to monitor through metering, processes and schedules and chip away a little at a time. But, we don't impact production."

Mr. Mitchell said the building's heating, ventilating and air conditioning system is also a blessing in the quest to conserve energy. The systems are chilled with water towers that are 25 percent more efficient than an air-controlled chilled structure.

"Everything in this building is inherently more efficient than what we left, even though it is nearly a 35-year-old building," Mr. Mitchell said.

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