Save energy, money while maintaining comfortable standards

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Air Force Space Command and the Air Force are fully committed to helping this nation save energy.

Current policy deems that we reduce energy consumption three percent annually, and starting in 2008 that we reduce water consumption two percent annually.
With summer in full swing and temperatures hitting the 90s and beyond for many of the command's wings and centers, how can one stay cool and still save energy? High temperatures typically bring increased use of electricity. By taking a few simple steps, people can make a big difference in total energy usage. The following are a few simple steps to help people stay comfortable and manage their summer energy costs.

Air conditioning

Air conditioning accounts for more than half of monthly energy usage. By making a few simple adjustments, homeowners and base residents can stay comfortable and control costs. 
  • Check air conditioner filters monthly to ensure they are clean. Change the filters when necessary.
  • Close window blinds, drapes and curtains during the day to reduce warming in the home from direct sunlight.
  • Use energy-efficient ceiling fans and portable fans to circulate airflow through the home.
  • Raise the central air conditioning thermostat to 78 degrees (Fahrenheit). Window units should also be adjusted.
Money-saving tips 

Small lifestyle adjustments can add up to monthly savings.
  • Do laundry, wash dishes, mop floors and bathe in the cooler hours of late evening or early morning. These activities produce moisture and increase humidity in the house, making the air conditioner work harder.
  • Wash all clothes with cold water.
  • Cook foods, except pork and chicken, at the lowest possible setting. Resist the temptation to open the oven door while baking.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with cooler-burning fluorescent bulbs or the new light- emitting diode type to reduce the amount of heat created in the home
Long-term home energy conservation tips 

A few simple household projects can result in better efficiency and lower bills. 

  • Have a professional inspect the air conditioner and check the refrigerant level. Air conditioners with low refrigerant work harder and burn more energy.
  • Do not allow cooled air to escape from the home. Check caulking around doors and windows.
  • Make sure attics and clothes dryers are properly vented.
  • Replace old single-pane windows with new high-efficiency, double-pane glass.
  • Close the fireplace damper. Fill holes and gaps where wiring and pipes enter the house. Insulate the attic.
  • Check the seals on all refrigerator and freezer doors. Make sure they close properly and open them only when needed and for short periods of time.
  • If the family is gone during the day, raise the air conditioner thermostat by five degrees before leaving. If the home will be vacant for several days, turn the air conditioner off.
  • If you use central heating and cooling, completely closing off one 100-square-foot (10 feet by 10 feet) room in a 1,800-square-foot home could save about four percent on heating and cooling costs. The thermostat should not be in the room you close off. No more than 20 percent of the total living area should be closed off.
  • Replace your furnace and air conditioning filter monthly. Reusable filters require monthly cleaning.
What have you or has your unit done to save energy today? Simple changes in behavior toward energy consumption can soon develop an energy-conscious lifestyle. With everyone doing even a little bit, AFSPC and its wings and centers can save a great deal of money.

The command's Energy and Resource Efficiency managers at the civil engineer squadrons stand ready to assist in helping you make your on-base home and work place more energy efficient.