News: Base Housing Set to Implement Energy Conservation Program
Story by Cpl. Uriel Avendano
YUMA, Ariz. - “Changing the way we use energy is essential to preparing our Corps for the future.”
– General James F. Amos, Commandant of the United States Marine Corps
The Marine Corps has a long-standing culture of conservation. With the changing times, continuously decreasing resources have forced Marines to adapt to a more energy efficient reality in their daily professional and personal lives.
For the Marines, sailors and family members living in base housing aboard Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., the approaching implementation of the Resident Energy Conservation Program (RECP) hopes to further promote the energy ethos and conservation concept.
“This is a government energy conservation program,” said Mark Smith, the housing director and family housing program manager of MCAS Yuma. “The Army’s been involved with it since 2003, the Air Force since 2006, and the Navy and Marine Corps are just now trying to get this program off the ground and going ahead full speed.”
The program will classify homes into like-type groups based on family size, the number of bedrooms and the type of construction. For each group, there is a target consumption rate, an average, for each month that will serve as the baseline for allotted consumption.
All of the electricity meters at base housing will be read and calculated. From those readings, the baseline will be created for the families in each like-type group every month. There will be a 10 percent buffer above and below that target consumption rate. If a home falls anywhere within that 10 percent, above or below, of the established baseline, that family’s basic housing allowance (BAH) will cover the utilities.
However, any amount above that 10 percent will be charged; any amount a household saves below that ten percent will have that amount credited back to them.
“The target consumption rate will be calculated every month – it changes. Those changes are due to climatic conditions, temperatures, those things that we don’t have any control over,” said Smith.
A 90-day mock billing period for MCAS Yuma base housing is slated to start Dec. 1, 2013. Residents will receive a statement of consumption which will include information on how much energy the household consumes, how it compares to others in that particular like-type group, the consumption target rate and over/under buffer zones.
It will be a grace period for families to evaluate energy use habits and become acquainted with adjustments they might have to make to get within their respective target zone.
“This program is being implemented throughout the Marine Corps CONUS [continental United States.] Right now it’s all of the Marine Corps privatized housing sites,” said Smith.
Through this program, the Marine Corps hopes to generate a culture shift by rewarding conservative decisions and incurring fiscal responsibility for energy consumption.
In 2010, the Marine Corps began the energy conservation pilot program at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Marine Corps Recruiting Depot Parris Island, S.C., and Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C. Even though that pilot program had a larger buffer zone of 20 percent, the results yielded a successful 9 percent drop of electric use and costs; 21 percent of residents received credits with an average of $16 - $44; and 20 percent of residents had bills with average of $19 - $57.
The savings expected to be generated in Yuma by the energy program will be used to improve the local on-base community amenities, playgrounds, renovations, and the overall quality of life of residents.
“About half of Camp Pendleton and all of Quantico has already been in this energy conservation program and it’s been working fine,” added Smith.
Simply put, residents using less energy will be monetarily rewarded and those exceeding their means will be billed.
For additional information, the housing office can be contacted at (928) 269-3639 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.