Stop throwing money out your window

When a window or door remains open for an extended period of time, up to $11,000 in energy costs can be wasted. The heat index in this thermal image displays the heat released from an open maintenance bay door on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. The 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron environmental section works to increase awareness of energy efficiencies to protect the environment and save money. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Released)

When a window or door remains open for an extended period of time, up to $11,000 in energy costs can be wasted. The heat index in this thermal image displays the heat released from an open maintenance bay door on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. The 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron environmental section works to increase awareness of energy efficiencies to protect the environment and save money. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Released)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- We've all heard that we should save energy...but sometimes, members of the Saber Nation may be at a loss with why we should do it, and how exactly to do that.

Here's a small example: opening your windows for a fresh breeze. With such a light winter this year, many people keep their heat on, but still open doors and windows to check if the sun is out yet (nope, check back later...). But if you check out the photo illustration over on the right, you'll see that with one door open over a period of a couple hours a day, you could be wasting more than $11,000 in energy costs.

That money can go towards supporting the mission in any numerous of ways, according to 1st Lt. Andrew Anderson, chief of energy management in the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron. Not only is it the strategic intent of the Secretary of the Air Force to cultivate an energy-conscious force because it's good for our environment, but saving energy saves money. That's money that could be used for bettering DoD communities like ours.

Want to act? No worries, Air Force Energy is here...in the form of our very own environmental section at the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron. They support the Environmental Management System, something that every Saber can participate in by actively saving energy.

Here are a couple of helpful hints from them for energy-saving actions:

1. Electricity Consumption:

Right now, the daily electricity bill for Spangdahlem is $21.5 thousand. You can help...by simply borrowing a "KILL-A-WATT" meter from the environmental section to find out how much energy your office appliances and electronics use. Some appliances use energy even when you have them turned off...they're called energy "vampires."

This amazing Van Helsing of a meter can help you find those pesky energy vampires. Once you know how much energy your appliances are using, you can take action to reduce your energy usage and lower monthly energy bills and help the environment.

2. Heating Energy (...the winter is not over yet):

The Saber Nation could save lots of money if all work centers lowered their temperatures by five degrees Celsius or about nine degrees Fahrenheit for the evenings, weekends and holidays.

This temperature change is a simple dial turn a couple hours before leaving without noticing a large difference in comfort level. Just by reducing the temperature in your workspace by one degree Celsius or about two degrees Fahrenheit, the Air Force can save six percent on heating costs! This could equate to nearly $500,000 in savings, if we all stop opening windows and turn down the heat while we are gone.

Last fiscal year, U.S. Air Forces Europe spent $401 million on energy, with $157 million directly related to facility energy costs. At Spangdahlem, we spend almost $34,800 every single day heating the base, which is 12 percent more than last fiscal year. This is money that could be better spent on supporting the mission, building partnership capacity with our neighbors and improving our Saber community.

Riddle me this: what would you rather have...an unnecessarily warm office or more money to make our base better?