A more energy efficient Corps
CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan -- When entering Camp Foster through Gate 1, commuters are immediately greeted by a large, white wind turbine.
This towering structure, which rarely receives a second glance, plays a crucial role in Marine Corps Installations Pacific’s mission to reduce its carbon footprint.
The turbine was built in June 2013 to utilize the Okinawa winds as a renewable source of energy.
“We had the turbine built as a way to experiment with different forms of renewable energy,” said Tomoko Matsuzaki, an energy engineer with facilities engineers, Facilities, MCIPAC-Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, Japan. “We’re always looking for new ways to create cleaner energy.”
Instead of using electricity to make wind, like a fan, wind turbines use wind to make electricity, according to Matsuzaki. The wind turns the blades, which spin a shaft connected to a generator that creates electricity.
The 6,000 kilowatt-hours generated per year by the turbine directly supplies the MCIPAC Headquarters building’s power panel and provides enough energy to support the lighting of an entire floor.
The turbine plays a crucial role in the Corps’ mission to be ecofriendly and represents just one of many ways MCB Camp Butler is working to reduce energy costs and increase the use of green energy, according to Matsuzaki. The best way to reduce MCIPAC’s carbon footprint however, is to reduce the amount of energy it uses.
“It’s important we reduce the amount of energy we use before we try to find new ways to generate energy,” said Matsuzaki. “That starts by doing simple things in the office such as unplugging the printer at the end of each day.”
To help spread the word and ensure a more energy efficient work environment, the Marine Corps released Marine administrative message 114/15. The document established the Unit Energy Management Program, which requires every command in the Marine Corps to appoint a unit energy manager to each unit aboard its installations. It is up to the energy manager to initiate, promote and supervise a more ecofriendly work environment.
“It becomes more of a mindset, rather than another (responsibility) in your career,” said Gunnery Sgt. Donald E. Current, the unit energy manager and staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the Outside Plant, North for G-6, communications, Telephone Systems Branch. “Most of what I do is educating the (service members in the) buildings I visit throughout the day about energy conservation.”
Current accomplishes this by simply making people aware of the amount of energy they are using.
“For example, if you walk into a room and you see that (an office has) several monitors on without people in front of them, ask questions (about it),” said Current. “That makes them more aware of (how much energy they’re wasting).”
Other effective ways to be more energy efficient include shutting off the overhead office lights and allowing natural light into the workplace and implementing a daily checklists, which ensures nonessential electronic equipment and lights are shut off at the end of each day.
According to Matsuzaki, energy conservation starts with individual effort and every little step towards conserving energy goes a long way toward making the Marine Corps a more efficient fighting force.