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Don't go in the red on energy use

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- As temperatures continue to climb this summer, the demand for electricity at Hurlburt Field is increasing as well. With air conditioners running for longer periods of time and at hotter parts of the day, it is important for Team Hurlburt to exercise smart use of electricity to reduce demand during this peak period of consumption.

"The Hurlburt electrical grid is reaching a critical threshold of capacity," said Lt. Col. Shawn Moore, 1st Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron commander. "Without taking actions to reduce demand on our power substation, brown outs and grid failures could result."

The base is currently at around 89 percent usage which is considered in the yellow zone (85-90 percent usage) but is still dangerously close to the red zone (90-95 percent usage) which would require drastic measures to prevent grid failures. These measures could include running certain buildings off generators until the usage load can be reduced or closing non-mission essential facilities.

"This time of year is warm, but the hot temperatures have come earlier this year," Colonel Moore explained. "And as Hurlburt Field and the mission have grown, so has the demand for electricity and new facilities that require more power. We are at the height of our need and demand, and our supply is at maximum."

Long-term solutions are being worked to lighten the load on the one electric substation powering all of the base, including construction of a new substation scheduled for completion next fall.

However, there are several steps that all personnel and families residing on base can take today to ensure the base electrical grid remains viable during the hot summer months.

"Flipping the lights off, turning computers and monitors off are things that, if everyone does, will make a big difference," said Col. Michael Plehn, 1st Special Operations Wing Commander.

Other steps to reduce electricity use:
· Set thermostats at 76 degrees
· Keep windows and doors shut
· Close window blinds to reflect solar heat
· Turn off lights and unplug equipment when not in use
· Unplug coffee pots and chilled water coolers after 11 a.m. each day
· Consolidate refrigerators and turn in empty units
· Unplug TVs that don't directly support an on-going operation
· Turn off computers and monitors at unoccupied work stations (*turn unoccupied work stations on once a week on Mondays to install patches and updates)
· Turn off computers and monitors at the end of the day and on weekends