Energy Awareness
Vol.9 Issue 3
Arbuckle Mountains Wind Farm

Perhaps the earliest memory I have as a kid about being energy efficient would be getting an ear-full from my parents about leaving lights on around the house. I wouldn’t think much about what they were trying to say because, 1) I wasn’t paying the bills and 2) I just didn’t know how the technology was supposed to work or be used. I took it for granted.

Fast forward some years and I remember wondering what the heck those big, spinning propeller looking things are, right off of I-35 in the Arbuckle Mountains, and what were they being used for? Those things were supposed to produce energy for us to use? Who knew that I would later find myself pondering the pros and cons of energy solutions across many different aspects of operations at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center (MMAC).

Many people are intrigued by the subject of energy for different reasons. As an engineer, I may be biased, but I am fascinated by the magic behind the technology. Solar and wind power for example, have been around for years but the modern technology to affordably harness these forms of energy have only developed just recently. Alternative energy producing concepts that seemed fictional are now implemented across the world, driven by different motivations. Some state that this form of energy production is meant to reduce dependency on natural gas and other fossil fuels; others believe that it’s to establish a reliable source of energy to power their home (more so in developing countries).

1.5-Megawatt Solar PV system expected to go live at MMAC in 2024

Cost savings could arguably be the one of the heavier motivators on incentivizing energy efficiency. Numerous corporations, facilities, homes, manufacturing practices (and many other examples) waste thousands of dollars a year on energy by not being aware and not capitalizing on their savings potential. Energy savings could arise from very simple adjustments such as turning off lights and equipment when not in use, upgrading door seals and weather stripping or more intricate projects, like replacing inefficient HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) equipment and altering the operations of such equipment. For years, the Aeronautical Center has had energy reduction and cost savings goals that have been implemented by paying attention to the details; not only by the folks working directly with such equipment, but also by having the building tenants report issues or irregularities in their work environment.

Whether it be economical benefits, social equity, energy security or impacts on the environment, there are many reasons to be curious about energy conservation. Practicing some of these solutions and realizing our own home savings can create invaluable habits that carry over to being a more energy aware individual, not only at work but at home as well.

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