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Ellsworth conserves for brighter future <br> Shining a light on EO 13423

ELLSWORTH AFB, S.D. -- President George Bush issued Executive Order 13423 tasking federal agencies to be an ecologically responsible example through the execution of their missions in an "environmentally, economically and fiscally sound, integrated, continuously improving, efficient and sustainable manner." 

The global economy is burning through non-renewable energy sources at a debilitating rate. Through this EO, the government is attempting to decrease the ecological footprint of modern-day America. 

The need for environmentally conscious actions has often been noted by the U.S. government, but this EO brings together five past EOs and two memorandums of understanding, strengthening them with new, updated goals, practices and reporting requirements. 

This EO sets forth a wide range of aggressive goals covering vehicles, petroleum conservation, alternative fuels, greenhouse gases, renewable power, building performance, water conservation, procurement, pollution prevention, electronics management, and environmental management systems. Some of the most noticeable changes will be where Ellsworth Airmen live and work. The changes will range from the types of light bulbs to the types of energy used. 

This EO states that alternative fuel use should increase by at least 10 percent annually and by 2015 have reduced energy intensity by 30 percent. The mission of the entire Air Force will be subtly and significantly affected by this EO. 

There are many ways energy and costs have already been conserved here at Ellsworth. 

An energy-saving heating trend was recently implemented in the PRIDE Hangar. The new heater makes use of radiation, heating objects instead of air. To an Airman this means the ambient temperature may be 50 degrees, but his toes will still be warm. Energy-saving light bulbs have also been placed around the base; where four 40-watt fluorescent bulbs were needed; two new 30-watt bulbs now do the job. Another improvement in lighting is replacing traditional 60-watt bulbs with 13-watt bulbs which provide the same amount of light. 

One of the most successful projects was the installation of a propane air-mix plant. The plant provides standby fuel, allowing Ellsworth to purchase interruptible natural gas, which is up to 50 percent cheaper than uninterrupted gas, saving about $717,000 per year. Current projects range from repairing or replacing leaking gas regulators to contracting Montana and Dakota Utilities to install new light fixtures which operate at one-third the cost and energy. 

For future changes, Ellsworth is moving in the direction of putting more efficient heating throughout the base and finding a good renewable energy source such as wind and geothermal energy.