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CHIPS Articles: Simple Changes = Significant Results for NCTS Sicily

Simple Changes = Significant Results for NCTS Sicily
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amber Porter, Naval Air Station SIgonella Public Affairs - October 1, 2015
NAS SIGONELLA, Sicily (NNS) -- After winning July's "Energy Biggest Loser" competition by reducing overall energy consumption 11.6 percent from previous July, commands at NAS Sigonella are determined to build on the success of their energy conservation efforts by making lasting environmental changes.

The competition, which concluded July 31, compared the energy use of the region's installations during the month of July to their historical usage of the same time period in previous years.

U.S. Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station (NCTS) made the most significant contribution to the win after finding ways to reduce their installation's energy consumption which accounts for 40 percent of the overall base energy usage.

"As a communication station, we are operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week and have a tremendous amount of computers, electronics and HVAC loads," said Construction Mechanic First Class John McClain, representative for the NCTS energy program. "Our goal was to find ways to reduce our constant lighting and increase the productivity of our HVAC systems."

After a meeting to brainstorm strategies for the base energy use, NCTS requested Antonino Piluso, NASSIG's Installation Energy Manager, to survey the facility and provide his professional point of view.

"Identifying the small things that we could do was part of the challenge," said McClain. "We devised ideas and looked at our larger assets."

McClain explained that NCTS had old split-unit ACs that were unnecessary and removed them from the facility to allow the HVAC system to operate as designed. Additionally, by researching their electronic equipment temperature specifications, they were able to increase the temperature, and therefore savings, while still providing a comfortable working environment.

NCTS also found small things, like turning off a light switch, made a huge overall difference. "We unplugged equipment that didn't need to be energized and made sure to turn off the lights when we left a room," said McClain.

This competition has helped people bring back that conservation mentality to their home as well. "Sailors will joke that they're saving money on their own electric bills because they are in the habit of turning off lights at work," said McClain.

Heralding it as a group effort, McClain said "The energy conservation movement requires a climate change and every member of our team played their part. We had a lot of motivation throughout the contest that really kept people focused and amped up. We took it upon ourselves to pass on the message through word of mouth and emails, and posting stickers and holding one another accountable."

When asked how the command plans to move forward in their environmental strategy, McClain said, "We are currently looking into a few initiatives including our lighting in facilities that are manned 24/7 and doing a cost benefit analysis of purchasing LED fixtures to replace the existing fluorescent lighting. Another adjustment is to have exterior lighting that is not on a photocell or timer switch to have the necessary alterations made."

Inspired by Navy's ongoing energy conservation initiative, also known as the Great Green Fleet, the "Energy Biggest Loser" competition is centered on energy security, energy efficiency and sustainability. The Great Green Fleet, started in 2009 by Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus, aims to reduce the Department of the Navy's consumption of energy, decrease its reliance on foreign sources of oil and significantly increase its use of alternative energy.

For more news from Naval Air Station Sigonella, visit www.navy.mil/local/nassig/.

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