By Christine Rosalin
PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- While October is recognized as National Energy Awareness Month, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Pacific Building Energy Monitor (BEM) teams conduct year-round inspections and monthly audits as part of the command's energy saving initiative.
"The purpose of the BEM program is to have trained energy personnel in each region facility to facilitate the reduction of energy and water waste, as outlined in the 2010 Navy Region Hawaii Energy Management Program published on July 2010," said Norma Liu, Facilities Management and Sustainment Energy Management program analyst. "One of the most important things a BEM does is increase awareness of energy and water conservation amongst co-workers thru posters, flyers, and reminders and announcements through e-mails and during staff meetings."
Currently, NAVFAC Pacific has 21 BEM-trained personnel in support of Commander, Navy Region Hawaii's Energy Management Program. Each member has responsibilities to minimize energy consumption throughout their designated buildings.
"We need constant reinforcement to affect behavioral changes throughout the command and the Region Hawaii Energy Team and building managers cannot do this by themselves," Liu added. "The more people we have who understand the importance of this program and help spread the word, the better we can better minimize energy and water waste."
Each of NAVFAC Pacific's 11 buildings has an assigned primary and alternate BEM who conducts audits in their assigned areas.
Using the "Take Charge Hawaii" audit form, BEMs inspect work areas for any office equipment not turned off at the end of the work day. They also monitor air conditioners left on during non-mandated hours, thermostat readings set below 78 degrees, exterior windows and doors left open when the air conditioners are running, equipment running in unoccupied rooms, and exterior lights on during the day. Additionally, BEMs inspect for leaky plumbing fixtures to support water conservation.
"During the last two months, we conducted weekend audits," said Rick Nojima, NAVFAC Pacific's building manager and lead BEM. "We record all our findings and submit reports up the chain and to the Region Hawaii Energy Team."
"The audits highlight that we need to increase education awareness so personnel will change daily habits," Liu said. "One of the misconceptions is if your computer or monitor is plugged into the sensor controlled power strip, then it is 'off' when you are not in your cubicle or office. This is not the reality though, because if the power strip and equipment are not switched off then the equipment is still drawing energy."
Nojima said conservation requires teamwork. "The efforts put forth by all our BEMs are greatly appreciated, but we need everyone's help to make this program successful," he said. "Having BEMs inspect their areas helps the command instill a culture of conservation and minimizes energy and water waste within the command."