Changing the energy culture

  • Published
  • By Gen. Donald Hoffman
  • Commander, Air Force Materiel Command
The absolute lifeblood of the modern military is energy. It allows us to be expeditionary and go anywhere on the globe. For true energy assurance as an Air Force, we need to be able to find energy solutions and strategies anywhere, even in hostile nations. At the most basic level, that assurance starts with reducing demand, diversifying supply and changing the culture.

It can seem overwhelming to think about energy in terms of the entire military, so I want to emphasize saving energy at the point of consumption -- it all begins at the lowest levels. Indeed, I believe that conserving resources, and using them judiciously, is a personal responsibility as well as an organizational responsibility. Whether at home or in our professional lives, being good stewards of energy is simply a matter of changing the culture of how individuals and organizations view and use energy.

To initiate this change in culture, some AFMC bases are participating in contests that pit organizations, and even buildings, in a competition against one another to see which has contributed the most to energy savings. This might translate simply as flipping off light switches and turning off monitors at the end of the day -- essentially treating the Air Force's energy consumption as we would our own residences.

As an example of how seemingly small changes can make a big difference, a simple project to detect water leaks has saved Kirtland Air Force Base 179,000,000 gallons of water annually. On a more strategic scale, all of our bases are working toward being better stewards of energy through space optimization and facility condition assessments, as well as by forging partnerships with industry to understand how companies organize, prioritize and sustain their facilities.

There is a reason "protect, conserve and consume resources under your control as if they were your own" is one of my leadership principles. I'm proud of the work AFMC has done to reduce demand, diversify supply and change the culture, thereby helping the Air Force secure a proactive energy mindset. The one energy source that I think we can expend freely, as it is 100 percent renewable, is the energy I see daily in the workforce as you collectively and individually think of new and innovative ways to address this challenge. Thank you for your continued dedication to changing the energy culture.