2015 energy saving resolutions

  • Published
  • By Sundae Knight
  • 374th Civil Engineering Squadron Energy Programs Specialist
The new year is quickly approaching and some of you may be wondering what your New Year's resolutions might be.  The Yokota Energy Team wishes you all the best in 2015 and has a few green ideas for you to save some green. 

1.  Resolve to drive less in 2015!

· If you have resolved to get fit this year, try walking or riding your bike at least once a week to work.  Walking and biking are great ways to save on gas and get in your workout at the same time. You can feel good about getting fit and reducing your greenhouse gas emissions!

· If you've never used transit, why not start with once a week?  On base, the Yokota "Kanto Express" shuttle operates from 0600-1800 Monday through Friday and 0800-1800 on weekends and holidays. The Kanto Express has 24 stops all over base and stops at each one every hour.  You can pick up a copy of the shuttle routes and time tables at the Kanto Lodge.

· Taking the bus or the train reduces your carbon foot print, and helps stretch your wallet a little further. The bus or train is also an especially helpful way to avoid becoming a DWI/DUI statistic during your New Year's celebrations. The average bus fare is usually about 1/5th the taxi fare for the same distance.  If you need help discovering the local train and bus system try downloading the Google Maps or HyperDia apps to your smart phone or computer.  Both apps are free, will help you find the exact route, calculate the fare, and tell you what platform to find your train at the stations.  You can also visit HyperDia's website at http://www.hyperdia.com/en/ or Google Maps online if you don't have a smart phone and print out a route.  The Tokyo transit system is an amazing adventure all on its own.

· If a bus or train stop is not near you, try carpooling with co-workers and friends to reduce your drive time.  You'll save money on gas and parking, and you may be able to de-stress your commute.  You'll reduce wear on your vehicle, save fuel money, and make time for friends too.

2.  Resolve to use a solar clothes dryer!

· Clothes dryers are a big energy user in a typical home.  On average, a clothes dryer uses about 960 kilowatt-hours per year, or $195, in energy costs.  A good alternative is to hang your clothes to dry--outside or in the basement--whenever possible.  Indoors, install a ceiling-mounted drying rack; warm, rising air will dry your clothes within 24 hours. 

· If doing away with your dryer is not conducive with your lifestyle, replace it with an energy saving dryer with a moisture sensor.  A moisture sensor can tell when a load of clothes is dry and will shut off the dryer, rather than continuing to run through a timed cycle.  This will ultimately save you energy and money.

3.  Resolve to reduce and reuse!

· One way is to buy less or buy used.  Find a good bargain at local Thrift Stores instead of buying something new.  Visit the Airmen's Attic (Bldg. 1299) or Yokota Office' Spouses' Club (YOSC) Thrift Stop (Taiyo Community Center) for used items at a fraction of the price.  The YOSC Thrift Shop offers a wonderful opportunity to purchase gently used merchandise such as clothing, toys, household items and gifts.  Their hours are:  Mon 0900-1300, Wed 1400-1900, & Fri 0900-1300.  100% of the proceeds from the Thrift Shop support the YOSC and YESC scholarship programs.  Give the YOSC Thrift Shop a call at 225-8296 or visit them on Facebook for more information (https://www.facebook.com/YokotaThriftShop).

· Or visit one of the local second hand stores, like the Fussa Recycle Center, Off House/Hard Off Store, or Game Recycle Center.  Yokota Travel has a complete list of where to go find a great bargain at http://yokotatravel.com/category/shopping/second-hand-stores.  Don't forget to bring reusable shopping bags!

4.  Resolve to insulate your hot water heater and your wallet at the same time!

· Buy an insulating blanket for your hot water heater and wrap the piping to ensure once the water is heated that it stays hot longer.  Water heaters are also built to function most efficiently when they are set to 120° - any higher and not only are you at risk for higher utility bills, but also accidental scalding.  At 120°F it takes 5 minutes for someone to get a 2nd or 3rd degree burn, but if your water heater is turned up just 10 degrees more to 130°F, it can take seconds to get a 2nd or 3rd degree burn.  Stay safe and turn it down!

5.  Resolve to buy local this year!

· Buying locally raised produce reduces your carbon footprint since the good are transported over shorter distances.  Not only will you get fresher produce, but your wallet will thank you as well for the lower prices.  For a culinary adventure on the local markets try Kasumi Market in Ome.  Kasumi Market in Ome is open daily 0900-1700; for more information call 042-831-1115.  Fresh House is another local farmer's market with local fresh produce and flowers, open 0900-1700 daily (January - March until 1600).  Yokota Travel has a complete list of where to go find a fresh take on energy savings and healthy eating at http://yokotatravel.com/category/shopping/produce-markets/.  Don't forget to bring your own shopping bags!

6.  Resolve to enlighten yourself on energy savings this 2015! 

· Replace your standard incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) and save about $60 in electricity costs over each bulb's lifetime.  CFLs use 75 percent less energy and generate about 70% less heat than standard light-bulbs.  Incandescent light-bulbs are mini-electric heaters with operational temps as high as 450 degrees F.  Install a CFL and make your home, dorm room, or work area cooler. 

· Even better, try a new LED technology light bulb to replace that old incandescent bulb this year.  If you think LED light bulbs are just too expensive, do another price check on aisle one this year.  Recently LED prices have dropped significantly in the light bulb aisle at your favorite hardware stores as Cree launches LEDs that cost $10 to $14, half the price of some.  Philips has a  new $15 LED and the top-rated LED from Consumer Reports' tests, a Home Depot EcoSmart bulb is now around $14, down from $26 just months ago.

· The table below illuminates why that cheap incandescent bulb is not really the most cost effective option over time.  Installing a new LED may cost a little more up front but over its lifetime, LED saves significantly on energy costs.
  LED CFL Incandescent
Light bulb projected lifespan 50,000 hours 10,000 hours 1,200 hours
Watts per bulb (equiv. 60 watts) 10 13 60
Cost per bulb $14.97  $2.66  $0.69 
KWh of electricity used over
50,000 hours
500 650 3000
Cost of electricity used over 50,000 light hours $102  $133  $614 
Bulbs needed for 50,000 light hours 1 5 42
Equivalent 50,000 light hours bulb expense $14.97  $13.32  $28.75 
Total Life Cycle Cost for 50,000 light hours $117.27  $146.30  $642.52 

7. Resolve to pull the plug on your plug load! 

· Only use ceiling fans/plug in fans in occupied rooms.  Fans cool people, not furniture, so turn them off when you leave the room for extra energy savings.  Turn off computers monitors when not in use.  Unplug electronics, gadgets, and chargers.  Make life easy and plug them all into a single power strip with one off button to push to put energy savings at your finger tip. 

8.  Resolve to save on heating costs!

· High winter heating bills can put a real freeze on your finances.  When the weather is chilly, set your thermostat at 68° F (20° C) or lower.  Every degree above 68° F (20° C) can add 3 percent to 5 percent to the heating portion of your power bill.  You could also resolve to knit your own sweater or to show off that new sweater grandma knitted for you this winter.  Dress warmly to keep the chill at bay and enjoy the extra savings this year.

9.  Resolve to change your HVAC filters every month!

· Mark your new 2015 calendars to remind you to clean or replace air conditioning filters each month.  This helps the unit run more efficiently.  Replacing the old filters on a regular basis will give you better air flow, cleaner air to breathe, and help extend the life of the equipment (which saves in maintenance costs).  Air Conditioning and heating unit filters are provided at no cost to base residents at the CE U-Fix-It Store (Yokota Hardware) Bldg. 800.  For more information call the U-Fix-It Store at 225-7086 or refer to the 374th AW Family Housing Pamphlet 32-8 at http://www.yokota.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-101123-001.pdf.

10.  Resolve to be a Yokota Energy Champion!

· Schedule an energy audit with the Yokota Energy Team to discover what else you can do at work and at home to help save energy. 

· Report any automatic lights burning during the day, as the timers may need to be reset.  Report any steam leaks or water leaks for repair. 

· Visit https://www.energystar.gov/campaign/takeThePledge to find more ways to pledge to save energy this year and let us know what you resolve to do to save energy this year at 374ces.energymanagement@us.af.mil.  

The Yokota Energy Team wishes you an energy efficient, healthy, and happy New Year!