CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii --
U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific Marines are enticed to dim their lights and unplug the coffee maker in support of Energy Awareness Month 2008.
The nation-wide campaign, launched by the U.S. Department of Energy, encourages individual awareness of energy saving sources and conservation.
“It’s about conserving energy, which is especially important in this day and age,” said Kathleen Ramirez, force environment engineer for MarForPac. “I think just about everybody’s felt (the change) and the Marine Corps is no exception.”
Ramirez said with the cost of oil, gas, natural gas and electrical energy up, energy bills are up.
Also, Hawaii has the highest electricity usage rate in the nation.
In agreement, Gordon Mattis, Office of Naval Research science advisor for MarForPac, said the market forces have driven the cost of energy up and if people want to maintain the lifestyle they’ve become accustomed to, they have to find smarter ways to make use of available energy.
“We’ve all seen the change in prices and the days of cheap energy is gone,” Mattis said. “The incentive is in the pocketbook.”
He said people often complain about the price of gas or the electric bill being too high.
“You have to ask the person who’s complaining, ‘what are you doing to help reduce to cost of electricity and gasoline?’” Mattis said. “The more you use the higher the price is going to be, and the less you use the lower the price is going to be.”
U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific is currently participating in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ‘Change a light campaign.’
Service members and Department of Defense civilians can pledge to upgrade light bulbs and use energy efficient products within their homes.
Individuals can also participate in ‘Operation Change Out,’ a Department of Defense military challenge promoting a similar pledge.
Ramirez said the pledges get tallied for Marine Corps Base Hawaii, which is currently in second place to Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.
In addition to pledging, there are numerous steps individuals can take to reduce the amount of energy used.
Ramirez said two major energy consumers in the home are light bulbs and air conditioners.
“Do not leave your air conditioner on if you’re not in the room to use it, and don’t turn the temperature down to try and cool the room down faster,” Ramirez said.
Mattis also recommended energy saving appliances when considering washing machines and dryers or hanging clothes on a line to dry.
Marine Corps Base, Kaneohe Bay is holding an energy fair to reach out and educate the general public about energy conservation October 29 and Camp Smith is schedule to hold an energy fair at the Pollock Theater October 31.
The fair will consist of free giveaways as well as giving out compact fluorescent light bulbs.
For more information on energy awareness and conservation, check out the following websites: