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Tinker AFB Starts Energy Improvement Plan

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TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Oklahoma -

Tinker Air Force Base is about to undergo some major overhauls through a new Continuous Energy Improvement program.

Tinker currently consumes more energy than any other location in the entire Air Force. The Department of Defense is trying to change that, and is enlisting the help of the employees.

The Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex is about get a top-to-bottom makeover. It is an effort to comply with federal goals to reduce energy consumption and emissions by 2030.

The plan will be possible through a large financing investment with outside contractors.

“This project is the largest energy-savings performance project the Air Force has pursued,” said OC-ALC Energy Manager Joseph Cecrle. “We don’t have a negotiated price yet on the project.”

The Continuous Energy Improvement program will recoup all associated costs, however, and then some.

“We’re going to be saving enough energy over the next several years to power about 10,000 homes, which is about the same number of employees we have at the Depot,” said Cecrle.

If, for some reason, the base does not save more money than the cost, it will not have to repay the extra amount to financiers.

“The activity is actually budget neutral for our organization,” said Cecrle.

The most noticeable change in the Air Force's repair shop will be to lighting, replacing old inefficient halide bulbs with smart LED fixtures throughout the facilities. Workers will be able to have automated lighting systems for the times the areas are usually occupied, while having control to turn them on or off during non-peak hours.

The project will also revamp heating and air conditioning, replace steam-powered machines and remove the old, massive boilers altogether. Cecrle said most of the equipment currently on-site is original to the facilities, which were built in the 1940s.

“We are doing state-of-the-art repair, and one of our goals with this program is bringing these buildings to state-of-the-art capability and operations,” said Cecrle.

Managers are also asking the workers to chime in with anything they didn't think of. The base hosted an Energy Expo to get them up to date on the proposed changes and allow outside contractors to show off their products, which the employees just might be able to use.

“No idea is a bad idea,” one contractor said to an employee at the Energy Expo. “If you figure out how to save energy in your area, we’d sure like to know about it.”

“Giving users that control at their shop for the work they need to do is important,” added Cecrle.

Most of the changes are expected to be complete within four years, but the program will be an ongoing process with the help of employees and their ideas.

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