Army Energy Action Month: energy saving tips for around the office
Thursday, 12 October 2017
By Rebecca Wingfield
Special to GUIDON

Last week we talked about what plug loads are and how just turning off your monitor at night and on the weekends, could save a lot of money for the Army. Let us review; a plug load comes from any device that is plugged into any building’s electrical system and uses power.

Now that we have seen how one small change in our behavior could make a big change in energy use, let’s look around the office to see what else we might change to reduce the impact of plug loads on our offices, our buildings, and our installation.  

Each organization has been requested to assign an Energy Conservation Coordinator and those coordinators will assign Building Energy Monitors to each building belonging to an organization. Your ECC or BEM can help you spot plug loads and help you with tips on how to manage them.

There are five simple steps to manage plug loads in our offices or homes.  

— Review by conducting an informal inventory of your office devices and identify any that you do not need or use. Space heaters, water coolers, task lights, coffee makers, personal radios, phone chargers, digital picture frames, and fans are all devices that may or may not be needed and can at least be turned off at the end of a day and on weekends so that they do not use standby power. Space heaters are a prohibited item that require approvals from DPW and the Fire Department. See FLW regulation 420-3 for more information.

— Remove devices or office equipment that are not being used; or at least ensure that they are turned off.

— Reduce by using the best rule of thumb. Simply turn off or unplug equipment when it is not in use. Personally, I plug intermittent use items into a power strip and turn the power strip off when I leave at night or when I no longer need that piece of equipment. There are now two types of advanced power strips available. Load-sensing power strips that can be set so when you turn off your computer, everything else in the plug strip also turns off, and occupancy-sensing power strips that detect presence or absence of a user and automatically turn equipment on and off in response to occupancy.

— Replace old equipment with “Energy Star” appliances and equipment when it is time, so you get the most energy efficient devices possible.

— Retrain your staff on how timers, advanced power strips, and power management settings work.  Make sure your people know how important these measures are to the Army. They save money, they reduce power plant pollution, and help keep our Army Strong and Resilient.

Don’t forget to check that everything is working properly and if not, determine why not or submit a service order to DPW, if appropriate.

Work together as an Army team to suit your organizations needs and still save energy. Encourage everyone to get into the habit of saving energy. Remember that buildings don’t use energy, people do.        

(Editor's note: Wingfield is the energy manager for the Directorate of Public Works.)
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 25 October 2017 )