NCOA recognized for leading charge on energy conservation

| January 15, 2016 | 0 Comments
Staff Sgt. Luis I.  Montijo teaches members of the    4th Platoon Small Group Leader, 25th ID NCOA, about energy conservation. Schofield Barracks HI Task:  SSG Montijo instructing students on energy conservation practices     Photo by Staff Sgt. David B. Hart, 4th Platoon Small Group Leader NCOA Hawaii

Staff Sgt. Luis I. Montijo teaches members of the
4th Platoon Small Group Leader, 25th ID
NCOA, about energy conservation.
Schofield Barracks HI
(Photo by Staff Sgt. David B. Hart, 4th Platoon Small Group Leader, 25th ID NCOA.)

Santiago J. Hernandez
Directorate of Public Works
U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii

The 25th Infantry Division’s Noncommissioned Officer Academy, the premier junior enlisted academy for the Pacific, is leading the charge and energizing the green movement within U.S. Army Hawaii.

On its own initiative, the NCOA has raised the bar on teaching, coaching, counseling and evaluating junior NCOs on energy conservation. The U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii community should expect this initiative and the NCOA’s collective efforts are going to favor the Army and, more importantly, the environment.

The NCOA is designed to train current and future NCOs from the Army and allied pan-Pacific countries. Last fall, the academy began evaluating students in leadership positions on their abilities to monitor energy consumption and comply with new energy conservation standards.

“Energy conservation is a leadership responsibility,” said Staff Sgt. Kareem Franklin, small group leader (SGL), 2nd Platoon. “As NCOs, we enforce standards, not just talk about them. We have to learn to do more with less.”

The academy trains approximately 133 Soldiers per cycle (22 academic days) and roughly conducts nine cycles per year. Additionally, since September, the academy has trained soldiers from Singapore and Indonesia.

All students, regardless of origin, are evaluated on 31 daily duties and characteristics that include attributes, core competencies, principles of leadership, tactical standards and technique practices.


The newest NCOA addition

Energy conservation was recently added as a leadership-evaluated responsibility.

“It was 1st Sgt. Charles Danner II, the NCOA deputy commandant, who forwarded us the first monthly USAG-HI energy mock bill and expressed his concerns regarding energy costs at the academy. At first, it was definitely an eye opener,” said Staff Sgt. David Hart, SGL, 4th Plt. “I noticed the NCOA is in a unique position to train and evaluate our Soldiers on conservation practices, which in turn can help all of USARHAW reduce its energy use. The bill was not perfect, but it gave us an idea of expenditures, broken down by building and the total amount paid by garrison.”

The total September bill for the four buildings of the NCOA was $16,218.84. Two months later, the November bill was $15,670.71. The NCOA had reduced its energy usage by $548.13. Though this may not seem like a large amount, over a year, the savings could amount to $6,500, and $13,000 over two years.

However, the biggest payoff is not so much in the monetary savings, but in the leadership investment the NCOA is making in junior leaders throughout 25th ID and USARHAW.

“At first, the figures looked too excessive,” said Staff Sgt. Terry Lowrence, 1st Plt. SGL. “However, we realized that our air condition window units contributed immensely to the energy bill. We have built energy conservation into the student conduct book, and we discuss energy costs during their initial briefing.”

The academy covers shutting off the lights when not in use, how to limit the use of air conditions by keeping the setting at 74 degrees, and shutting doors and windows to help keep room temperatures cooler, Lowrence explained.

“Bottom line, we teach them to be better stewards of energy and energy conservation,” he said. “I respect 1st Sgt. Danner and appreciate how he made us part of the solution and not part of the problem. I will take his approach with me, regardless of where I go in the Army. No doubt about it, we all have to do our part to help the environment and reduce our energy bill.”

“We designed, printed and passed out posters, which I believe, helps remind students to conserve energy,” Hart added. “However, I have noticed that it is hard to change their mindset, and I can relate.”


Everyone is an energy conservation officer

Hart described how he and his battle buddies never used to question energy use because they didn’t pay the bill, and that changing a mindset isn’t easy.

“Nevertheless, because of our collective efforts, our energy consumption at the academy is dropping,” he said.

“I believe we should all embrace change. We all have to do it, and we should do it together, especially if we want to see savings throughout the entire Army,” Franklin said. “We owe it to our present and future generations of Soldiers and family members.”

Energy conservation is an easy, if inconvenient, idea to agree to and practice. The garrison community should all make the effort to conserve energy, even at the personal cost of convenience.

If you need to use energy, use it responsibly. If you don’t, turn it off. Pass it on!

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Category: News, Sustainability

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