[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                    January 23, 2009

Donated light bulbs to help 
improve energy conservation

By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff

Buildings at Fort McCoy will become more energy-efficient through a donation of 10,000 new compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Photo: Greg Shattuck of the McCoy Public Works Joint Venture examines one of the compact fluorescent light bulbs the installation will use to replace older incandescent bulbs. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
Greg Shattuck of the McCoy Public Works Joint Venture examines one of the compact fluorescent light bulbs the installation will use to replace older incandescent bulbs. 
(Photo by Rob Schuette)

Greg Shattuck, a planner/estimator for the McCoy Public Works Joint Venture, said the installation received the light bulbs from the Focus on Energy organization.

Focus on Energy, which is headquartered in Madison, Wis., is funded through customer payments to local electrical utilities, he said.

Focus on Energy used a large-scale group purchasing effort by many of its customers to procure the light bulbs. The economies of making a mass purchase, combined with the normal financial incentive Focus on Energy can offer for the bulbs, allowed the bulbs to be offered free of charge to the organizations involved.

When one of the public-sector organizations told Focus on Energy it couldnít use all the light bulbs it had ordered, Focus on Energy offered them to other organizations it deals with.

"I worked out a request to get 10,000 light bulbs," Shattuck said. "Figuring a cost in the $2-$3 range, that saved us about $20,000 to $30,000."

The new bulbs will be used throughout post buildings, he said. The bulbs are the same kind people would buy and put in their home lighting fixtures. Many of the bulbs also will be given to the Family Housing program for use in South Post and the Woodridge Family housing.

Sherry Oslie, Fort McCoy Family Housing manager, said the Housing maintenance personnel will install the bulbs as new occupants move into the housing units and the old occupants move out.

"We will replace them during the general maintenance we perform before the new occupants move in," Oslie said. "So it wonít cost us any extra money or additional labor time to do this."

Personnel living in these facilities receive a basic allowance for housing, which is used to cover basic utilities, such as electricity.

Oslie said that means the government also will save a great deal of money by not having to purchase the lighting and realize large energy savings the new light bulbs provide over the incandescent light bulbs they will replace.

During the maintenance period between occupants, the Housing maintenance staff also replaces shower heads with lower-flow shower heads and accomplishes any other energy-efficient upgrades possible, Oslie said.

The Focus on Energy organization is scheduled to conduct an energy audit on the installationís various types of military housing and make suggestions about other types of energy efficiencies that could be obtained. Oslie said Housing plans to incorporate these recommendations into its maintenance program, as possible.

Don Keck, who works for the Focus on Energy Schools and Government Section, said he has done a lot of energy-conservation work with the installation and is scheduled to conduct the energy audit on the installationís housing units in February.

"I knew the installation could use the bulbs and have been very aggressive in upgrading their facilities to reduce energy usage," Keck said. "These new light bulbs have to be used for first-time installation, so we hope McCoy will replace these light bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs when they eventually burn out. They save a tremendous amount of electricity." "We also have and will continue to help the installation get grants to do other energy-conservation projects," he added. Focus on Energy has a residential energy-efficiency program, as well, Keck said.

For more information, which includes cost assistance with energy audits and/or coupon discounts on energy-efficient light bulbs, call the toll-free number at (800) 762-7077 or visit the Web site http://www.focusonenergy.com, he said.


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