Wednesday, October 21, 2009

 From Guam, Joint Region Marianas Leads Energy Conservation Across The Pacific

From Guam, Joint Region Marianas Leads Energy Conservation Across The Pacific

On Island, This Month: NAVFAC Marianas Celebrates (1) Energy Security/Efficiency, (2) Environmental Stewardship & (3) Defensive Power

By Jeff Marchesseault

GUAM - Guam's military buildup is off to a sustainable start. One week after U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told a crowd gathered at the Naval Energy Forum in Virginia that the Navy and Marine Corps would lead the armed forces and the world in energy conservation, an official announcement from Joint Region Marianas indicates that the Navy's conservation efforts on Guam are leading the Pacific.

Read the Guam News Factor story, "Guam Military Buildup To Usher In Era Of Energy Efficiency", October 18, 2009.

Here is the news release from Joint Region Marianas:

Joint Region Marianas Steps Up Energy Conservation

By Oyaol Ngirairikl, Joint Region Edge Staff

10/21/2009 / SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) -- U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Marianas will host events in October to educate and encourage the military community on Guam to reduce energy consumption.

The Department of the Navy's emerging energy strategy is centered on energy security, energy efficiency and environmental stewardship while remaining the pre-eminent maritime power. The Navy is the second largest fuel user in the Department of Defense, consuming about 100,000 barrels per day. Seventy-five percent of the Navy's energy consumption is tactical while 25 percent of consumption is ashore.

In 2008, the Navy on Guam reduced its energy consumption by 1.86 percent.

"That's a huge reduction when you take into account all the areas, from Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station Guam in the north to Naval Base Guam in the south," said Kevin Evans, NAVFAC Marianas energy manager. "The goal being three percent, which is a very aggressive...I don't know of any region that has met that goal, in fact, we are one of the best in the Pacific."

The consumption decrease is especially notable because of the new facilities that are being built to accommodate the expected increase in forces on Guam in the next few years, Evans said.

"We've been doing some really great things, including the solar-powered lights at playgrounds and solar-powered water heaters at the bachelor quarters on Naval Base Guam," he said. "Coupled with recycling, the work we're doing with our base contractors, the wind study and other things we're doing we're definitely making a lot of headway to reducing our energy consumption and doing our part to maintain our environment and meeting the goals set by federal policies."

In the last few years, NAVFAC Marianas has adopted eco-conscious standards for new buildings and renovations of old buildings. NAVFAC Marianas mandates energy-efficient lighting fixtures and household appliances are used and that construction design and materials minimize impact to air and water environment.

Other measures are being taken to reduce energy consumption in Navy buildings. For example, LED bulbs that use about half of the wattage of traditional incandescent bulbs were installed at NAVFAC Marianas' offices. As well, NAVFAC Marianas has started a curb-side recycling program on Naval Base Guam to help base residents do their part to conserve the environment and minimize its carbon footprint on the island.

Navy Guam's conservation measures fit right into this year's Energy Awareness Month theme, "A Sustainable Energy Future; Putting All the Pieces Together," which encourages individuals throughout the nation to see how they fit into the big picture.

NAVFAC Marianas is working closely with the Navy's contractors to determine other conservation methods.

"I'm really excited about this because as energy partners we'll be able to do so much," he said. "Our contractors work on everything from our air conditioning systems to infrastructure. With them thinking in terms of energy efficiency, we'll be able to make leaps and bounds in energy savings."

Educating the community is another key element that NAVFAC Marianas has implemented. Educational outreach efforts include an energy awareness event at the Orote Point Lanes on Naval Base Guam as well as product displays at the Navy Exchange and Orote Commissary Oct. 26-30.

During the Naval Energy Forum held Oct. 14-15 in Virginia, Navy leaders discussed new energy use strategies. Among other things, these new policies requires the Navy to create a "Green Strike Group" composed of nuclear vessels and ships powered by biofuels and deploying that fleet by 2016, and producing at least half the shore-based energy requirements from renewable sources, such as solar, wind and ocean generated by the base.

"These new goals help us stay on top of efforts to reduce our reliance on foreign oils," Evans said. "The President also released new requirements and I believe there will be more to come as we move towards being a more fuel efficient Navy and nation. We'll see more solar and wind projects and other programs that promote the use of renewable resources."

On Oct. 2, President Barack Obama signed a proclamation naming October Energy Awareness Month, promoting the importance of a clean energy economy. Obama noted that while the federal government is the largest consumer of energy in the U.S., he also noted his administration's commitment to increasing energy efficiency.

"We face a turning point in our Nation's energy policy," the proclamation stated. "We can either remain the world's leading importer of oil, or we can become the world's leading exporter of clean energy technology. We can allow climate change to wreak unnatural havoc, or we can create jobs deploying low-carbon technologies to prevent its worst effects."

On Guam, NAVFAC Marianas recently completed a year-long wind study that measured wind-powered energy at three different sites.

"Two of the sites are ... really, really good wind resources and the third is not as good as the first two but it's still a good area," Evans said. "There's still a lot of work to be done, from environmental assessments to getting community input. The process of getting all these different studies done will take several years."

According to the study, wind farms at the three areas could produce four megawatts of power, potentially saving the Navy $7 million annually.

"Four megawatts doesn't sound like much, but it helps," Evans said. Currently, the Navy on Guam consumes up to 56 megawatts during peak hours.

"Between the solar panels, new greener construction requirements and the investments we're making in future resources like the wind projects, I think we're doing all the right things," he said. "We're definitely moving in the right direction towards becoming a more energy efficient community and nation."

For more news from U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas, visit www.navy.mil/local/guam/.

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