REEPing the rewards of energy conservation
More than $6 million was spent on Royal Air Forces Lakenheath, Mildenhall and Feltwell base housing utilities in 2011.

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- More than $6 million was spent on Royal Air Forces Lakenheath, Mildenhall and Feltwell base housing utilities in 2011.

The 48th Civil Engineer Squadron housing office is looking to reduce that number by starting the Resident Energy Efficiency Program Oct. 1, 2012.

The REEP initiative is a three-month-long trial program designed to increase awareness of how much energy a family is using by directly showing the cost of utilities on issued energy monitors.

"The concept is to provide people with the energy meters, with a sort of mock billing they can see straight away on the meters," said Helen Kenyon, 48th CES housing management assistant. "Combine that with education and people are more aware of what steps to take to reduce their energy consumption."

Volunteers for the program will have energy monitors installed in their house, along with a small handheld device that will tell the user exactly how much electricity is being used at any given time and how much that energy is costing.

"Volunteers will have a little sensor that will clip on to their house's electricity meter and that sensor will wirelessly send a signal to the handheld monitor," said Kenyon. "The user can walk around a room, switch something off at the socket and see your energy usage drop down."

In addition to the energy monitors, volunteers will receive a sticker to put on the thermostat showing the conversion of Celsius to Fahrenheit to help prevent residents from setting the temperature too high and wasting energy.

"We're not telling you to turn off your heat and freeze, we're talking about really small changes such as turning off your lights and turning your heat down a little bit," said Kenyon. "But when applied across all the housing, it's going to save a lot of money."

Reducing 10 percent of base housing energy usage will help save government tax dollars and also reduce the strain on our host country's energy.

"As soon as I heard about this program designed to save energy and more importantly save money for the government, I wanted to sign up right away," said Senior Airman Seth Stambaugh, 48th Contracting Squadron contracting specialist. "Conserving energy for me is important because we are not in our own country and they are gracious enough to host us. We should be considerate to their energy needs and we should be conserving everything we can."

Data gathered from volunteers, like Stambaugh, will be used to build an energy conservation plan to be implemented across all of U.S. Air Forces in Europe within the coming months.

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