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Computer modifications result in energy savings

by Michelle Eviston
Air Force Materiel Command Public Affairs

8/1/2008 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFPN) -- Carlene Conner-Kueck is an advocate for energy conservation -- and she's not alone. The Air Force Materiel Command Communications Installations and Mission Support directorate is filled with people devoted to money-saving conservation techniques.

"All energy managers in this command have a passion for energy," said Ms. Conner-Kueck, the AFMC resource efficiency manager. "We're constantly looking for potential projects to save energy.

In May 2007, the command implemented phase one of a no-cost process to reduce computer power consumption. Now, after 11 minutes of keyboard and mouse inactivity, computer monitors automatically go into a power-saving sleep mode.

Phase two of the process began command-wide in May and applied the same concept to computer processors. After an hour of inactivity, the processors also go into a power save mode, further reducing energy consumption.

For example, an average desktop computer runs on about 120 watts of electricity an hour. That same computer in both phases of sleep mode will use about 7 watts of electricity. It's a process that saves energy with zero mission impact.

"As a user, you don't know it's happening," Ms. Conner-Kueck said. "But it's going on in the background."

By moving or clicking the mouse, the computer becomes active again. And at night, it receives updates by "waking up" during scheduled maintenance windows.

Officials in the AFMC Communications Installations and Mission Support directorate estimate this PC Power Management project will save AFMC $2.2 million a year in energy costs. A third phase of the project is set to start in the next couple months and would bump that number up to $2.4 million.

The project has been so successful that it was recently implemented Air Force-wide, with estimated savings up to $15 million.

Another potential energy-saver for AFMC includes a building temperature control project. This no/low-cost initiative would lower the command's yearly energy bill by adjusting the temperature in the headquarters buildings. By shifting the set-points two degrees warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter, this project could reduce the command's energy consumption by 9 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

"This is an energy saving opportunity we should be capitalizing on," Ms. Conner-Kueck said.

But it's also just the tip of the iceberg. Ms. Conner-Kueck says with projects such as consolidating square footage, using alternative energy and purchasing renewable resources, it is clear AFMC has made energy conservation a key focus across the command.

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