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NAVFAC Hawaii Helps Promote an Energy Conscious Culture at JBPHH

10/04/13 12:00 AM

By Sila Manahane, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii

Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii (NNS) -- With October being Energy Awareness Month the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii Energy Team would like to emphasize how shifting daily routines at work and at home regarding energy use is essential to fulfilling energy conservation initiatives.

"Our goal is to get individuals to stop and think about how they use energy, to change their habits and to start turning equipment and appliances off when they don't need them," said Kathleen Ramirez, NAVFAC Hawaii Energy Team member and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) installation energy manager. "We also want to increase awareness about user friendly tools that can help them [consumers] reduce energy consumption."

One such energy conservation tool is a plug-in appliance timer. These devices are being introduced by NAVFAC Hawaii specifically to control water coolers; but these timers can be used on other appliances. They are 7-day-timers and can be calibrated to fit the user's schedule. NAVFAC Hawaii expects the electrical timers will be more in demand once they are distributed and put into use in command office buildings. The timer will allow water coolers to be turned off during evenings and weekends when no one is in the facility, saving the cost of cooling water that doesn't need to be cooled.

"With the new FY14 electrical rate of $0.58 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) one timer on one drinking fountain can save a command $300/year," said Ramirez. "Multiply that times every drinking fountain in every building and it adds up to some real savings for the Navy. The best part is these timers were given to the Navy for free through the Hawaii Energy* rebate program."

A surge protector or power strip is another useful device to assist employees and families in offsetting electricity costs. The surge protectors are used to control Phantom loads. Phantom loads refer to devices that continue to draw power when supposedly "off," such as a battery charger, coffee maker, copy machine or printer.

According to Ramirez, "in a recent research and development project, we were able to reduce one building's energy consumption by 8 percent just by installing smart power strips and timers to control plug loads."

Smart power strips are available at hardware/computer stores or online and generally cost less than $20. The strips are particularly useful for most frequently used equipment and appliances, including desktop computer systems. Some are even equipped with occupancy sensors or a wireless switch that can be mounted on the wall enabling users to conveniently cut power off from their appliances when needed.

According to the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), the majority of a typical office building's energy is derived from air conditioning and light fixtures.

One way to have a big impact on energy consumption is to reduce the number of fluorescent lamps in light fixtures in hallways between office spaces, providing the brightest light only in spaces used most frequently by employees. Most fluorescent fixtures have anywhere from 2 to 4 lamps in them. Removing 1 or 2 fluorescent lamps from overhead fixtures is called "de-lamping," and it can reduce your energy consumption from 25-50 percent.

In addition to the number of light fixtures, the type of light bulbs used can greatly impact energy bill expenses.

NAVFAC Hawaii's energy team is currently conducting a pilot project to measure the effectiveness of more energy efficient light bulbs in a representative office building. The 6-month long energy demonstration project began Sept. 23 in NAVFAC Hawaii's main compound in building A-4. The energy team and contractor, Pacific Power, replaced standard fluorescent fixtures with Light Emitting Diodes (LED) fixtures equipped with occupancy sensors. The traditional fluorescent fixture costs 1.4 cents/hour to run compared to the new LED fixture which costs 3/4 of a cent/hour to operate. The occupancy sensors help save even more by turning off the lights over a single individual cubicle when the employee leaves.

LED bulbs are also available as alternatives to standard incandescent light bulbs to use in homes. They are more energy efficient even than Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) bulbs. LEDs are available at most hardware stores and online for as low as $20 and the customer may apply for rebates from Hawaii Energy*.

"Here in Hawaii, the NAVFAC electrical rate will more than double in fiscal year 2014, from 26 cents/kWh to 58 cents/per kWh." said Ramirez. "That is 123 percent from the last fiscal year's rate. I anticipate government employees and base residents will have a lot of questions on how to save, and these tools and technologies are some of the cheapest and easiest means to reduce energy consumption quickly."

These are a few of the various energy saving devices available that will help users change their unproductive energy habits and help their organizations reduce energy consumption and their own households decrease energy costs.

* Hawaii Energy ( is a ratepayer-funded conservation and efficiency program for Hawaii, Honolulu and Maui counties administered by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) under contract with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. It offers cash rebates and other incentives to residents and businesses to help offset the cost of installing energy-efficient equipment.


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