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Kentucky Air Guard saves energy with new computer servers, other initiatives

Tom Spalding, an environmental technician for the 123rd Airlift Wing, checks a gas meter Oct. 12, 2012, at the Kentucky Air National Guard base in Louisville, Ky. Many of the meters on base wirelessly transmit energy-usage data for monthly reports, helping officials identify opportunities to reduce energy consumption. (Kentucky Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Phil Speck)

Tom Spalding, an environmental technician for the 123rd Airlift Wing, checks a gas meter Oct. 12, 2012, at the Kentucky Air National Guard base in Louisville, Ky. Many of the meters on base wirelessly transmit energy-usage data for monthly reports, helping officials identify opportunities to reduce energy consumption. (Kentucky Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Phil Speck)

KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The 123rd Communications Flight recently installed new network servers at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base that will reduce energy consumption by up to 84 percent while maintaining the same level of performance, officials said.

"This initiative is one of many being implemented to help conserve energy at the Air Guard Base," according to Tom Spalding, an environmental technician for the 123rd Airlift Wing.

The U.S. Air Force is the largest energy consumer in the federal government, and the Kentucky Air Guard is constantly looking for new ways to conserve energy, Spalding added. Under an executive order, federal agencies have established a goal of reducing energy consumption by up to 3 percent annually.

"The 123rd Airlift Wing is fully committed to improving resiliency, reducing demand, assuring supply and fostering an energy-aware culture," said Lt. Col. Robert Hamm, vice wing commander. "Our overriding concern is securing energy for the future."

One way the base ensures energy conservation is through the use of "smart meters" on each building. The meters record continual usage of electricity and natural gas, then feed the data into a report that helps officials identify usage patterns and opportunities for increased efficiency.

"There is a little broadcast station on each building that sends metrics to a central computer that helps us create a monthly report on each building's energy usage," Spalding said.

Interior lighting has been upgraded across the base, too. New bulbs use less energy but produce the same amount of light. The 123rd Civil Engineer Squadron also is on constant watch for opportunities to improve insulation and weather stripping around windows and doors.

While base officials continue to identify systemic solutions for energy conservation, Spalding encouraged every Airman to do his or her part with simple actions that can become part of a daily routine:

· Turn off lights in unoccupied rooms.
· Replace inefficient items. If a piece of equipment is loud, hot or old, that's probably a good indication that it's not energy efficient.
· Connect all computer peripherals (but not the computer itself) to a switched power strip, and turn that strip off at the end of each day. By eliminating the stand-by power used by monitors, speakers and chargers, the wing can save a substantial amount of electricity over the course of year.