Cannon implements energy-efficient measures

By Gabriel Monte, Freedom New Mexico

It may take one bulb at a time but Cannon Air Force Base officials are attempting to cut its energy consumption.

Cannon on Tuesday launched the Energy Star Operation Change Out, a national military campaign to reduce energy use by replacing about 1,053 light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs by Oct. 1.

The program aims to save 592,313 kilowatt hours, according to base officials.

In addition to the program, Cannon officials are implementing energy-saving initiatives under an Air Force mandate to conserve energy.

Officials implemented the initiatives last year, which include turning off lights and appliances that aren’t in use, according to Base Resource Efficiency Manager Steven Myers.

Along with the initiatives are plans to install meters and systems on base facilities to monitor and control energy consumption.

Deputy Base Civil Engineer Michael Poston said the base aims to reduce energy consumption by 3 percent every year.
“I think we’re on track to meet that,” he said.

Poston said 109 buildings will have electricity meters. Connected to the meters are Energy Management Control Systems in 74 buildings that control energy consumption.

“They will monitor and control HVAC settings and any other type of potential future equipment that we install on that building so we can monitor and control that as well,” Poston said.

The base has also entered into an agreement with the state to consider purchasing energy generated from proposed renewable energy projects by the city and an association of dairy producers.

The city proposes to build a wind farm to power city facilities and sell the excess electricity. The Southwest Biomass Cooperative is proposing to build a biomoss plant that would generate energy from cow manure.

“This will not necessarily reduce energy but it would certainly help with our overall goal to rely on renewable energy versus fossil fuel energy,” Poston said.

While the base tries to conserve energy, Myers said the base might not see its utility bills shrink as it transitions to a Special Operations Wing.

Poston said units such as the 3rd Special Operations Squadron, which uses control stations to fly unmanned aerial vehicles, add to the base’s power consumption.

“We might be saving but we’re gaining square footage, which is increasing (our consumption),” he said.