Energy conservationists say knowledge is the key for reducing, reusing, recycling resources

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Eydie Sakura
  • 341st Space Wing Public Affairs Office
(Editor's note: This is the first article in a two-part series on energy conservation and Malmstrom's role in the Air Force's journey toward energy efficiency). 

A wise man by the name of Kermit the Frog once said, "It isn't easy being green." But in today's world, it is a little bit easier to be green, and to be proud of it. 

Environmentalism and thinking "green" are all the rage these days, from Hollywood to New York, but Malmstrom has been ahead of the trend for years. 

The Air Force stresses the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling, and has realized through the years that every little bit conserved helps in the long run. 

"I've been on base since 1994 and recycling has grown each year since the birth of the environmental movement in 1970 with the first celebration of Earth Day," said Frank Carpenter, 341st Civil Engineer Squadron environmental protection specialist. "The monies and resources saved by recycling free-up funds for other mission requirements. 

The Air Force has always been in the forefront of the recycling effort and continues to pursue a vigorous solid waste management and reduction program." 

Reducing energy consumption will not happen over night, but the base energy manager is certain every step Team Malmstrom takes on the road to reducing usage will help save budget dollars. 

"We all must be creative and energetic in our efforts to help reduce energy usage," said Kent Seaton, 341st CES. "In the 'olden' days, utility bills were a 'pass-through' to command for payment. That has changed to command only paying a maximum, or portion of the annual utility bill. Base leadership now potentially doesn't see as much money available if only a portion is going to pay the bill." 

Malmstrom energy conservation officials have made strides toward keeping the base on track with meeting their annual energy consumption goals. These efforts include installing more energy efficient lights and controls, better heating and ventilation equipment, more insulation in walls and doors, better roofs, more irrigation sprinkler systems and increasing awareness to the base populace. 

"For every compact fluorescent lamp put in place of an incandescent lamp, energy is reduced 70 percent, it lasts 10 times as long and 500 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions are saved over its lifetime," Mr. Seaton said. "It is now an Air Force requirement that incandescent lamps be replaced with CFLs. Incandescent lamps are no longer allowed, except by waiver request directly from the Air Force." 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency Web site, greenhouse emissions are gases emitted to the atmosphere through natural processes and human activities. These gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases, which are ozone-depleting substances. 

The base's self-help store, located in building 220, now has CFLs available for people living in base housing. Base housing occupants are limited to six CFLs per household per year. For more information, call the self-help store at 731-7701. 

To learn more about greenhouse emissions and calculating your household emissions, visit the EPA Web site at

Reusing items means people can repair the items, donate the items to charity or community groups, or sell the items. These actions all help in the reduction of waste and the creation of greenhouse gases. Garage sales, thrift stores and second-hand stores are resources for people who choose to reuse items rather than throw them in the trash. 

Two locations at Malmstrom include the Thrift Store in building 145, and the Airman's Attic in building 4000. The Thrift Store is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the first Saturday of each month. The Airmen's Attic is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Inventory and selection rotates weekly, so there is usually something new each week. 

For more information on donating or consigning items to the Thrift Store, call 731-3213. To donate to the Airman's Attic, call the Airman and Family Readiness Center at 731-4900. 

"The best way to make recycling work is to make it a part of your routine, ensuring it is practiced by your whole family each day," Mr. Carpenter said. "People should separate recycled materials at the time they use them; have some sort of small container in their pantry area to place cans, bottles and papers." 

On-base recycling pick-up is biweekly Fridays. Off-base residents can dispose of their recyclables at the city recycling center or one of the 16 recycle drop-off locations throughout the community. Directions and location can be viewed at:

"Recycling and energy efficiency go hand-in-hand," Mr. Carpenter said. "It costs far less and uses about one-tenth of the energy to process recycled material into a usable state than it does to process it from virgin material. Recycling aluminum, for instance, creates 97 percent less water pollution than producing new metal from ore." 

To learn more about resources for energy conservation, visit