Delaware Air National Guard environmental efforts save energy resources, cut pollution

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Delaware Air National Guard
Headquarters, 166th Airlift Wing
2600 Spruance Drive
New Castle, DE 19720-1615 

Contact: Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Matwey
Public Affairs Specialist, 166th Airlift Wing
Cell 302-593-2126, or office 302-323-3369
Release No. 2007-04-004 [corrected Release No.]
April 20, 2007


NEW CASTLE - The Delaware Air National Guard air base has implemented several actions to save energy and conserve natural resources, while reducing pollution and saving taxpayer and employee money. These efforts are tied to environmentally conscious programs pushed in recent years by the Department of Defense, the United States Air Force, the National Guard Bureau, the Air National Guard and the State of Delaware. In 2003 the DoD mandated that energy use be cut 33 percent by 2005, with further restrictions in following years limiting various energy and energy-related equipment expenditures.

There are eight specific ways the base is working to be a good steward of the environment and of taxpayer money: (1) solar lighting; (2) more efficient, better managed electrical lighting; (3) geothermal heating and cooling of facilities; (4) efficient HVAC systems; (5) reducing building heat gain; (6) recycling materials; (7) using bicycles, tricycles and small vehicles; and (8) commuter van-pooling.

"We are very proud of the energy-saving results of these efforts and our Airmen who planned, designed and implemented these systems, said Brig. Gen. Hugh Broomall, Assistant Adjutant General for Air, Delaware National Guard. "We are taking a leadership position not just in the Air National Guard but in the entire Air Force when it comes to environmental awareness and prudent use of the taxpayer dollar."

Eight efforts implemented in the Delaware Air National Guard:


The first phase of a solar street lighting system was completed in April 2004 at New Castle Airport, making this the first Air National Guard base in the country with a solar street lighting system. At the time, a total of 25 solar streetlights were installed to illuminate a long-term parking lot just off Basin Road. Since then, 36 more solar streetlights were installed on the base in a second phase, with a total of 61 solar streetlights now on base. In just the headquarters parking lot alone, twelve electric light poles using 1600 watts of electricity each per hour, turned on year-round from sundown to sun-up, were replaced by about 20 solar street lights.

The photoelectric panels convert sunlight to electricity, and the solar generator charges long-life batteries that can store enough power for up to five days of lighting. The solar lights turn on at sunset, and off at sunrise, all regulated by a microprocessor. "The lights are an efficient way of providing additional lighting without the additional cost of electricity," said Maj. Elias Danucalov, assistant base civil engineer, 166th Civil Engineer Squadron. The base will evaluate the system for five years to determine possible future uses of solar lighting elsewhere.


Master Sgt. Glen Clugston, from the 166th Civil Engineer Squadron electrical shop, helps to manage the electrical lighting program across base. He said that several years ago a joint effort began to change human behavior and/or implement new technology to reduce electricity used for lighting. A partnership between civil engineering, security forces, the safety office and all Airmen on base was formed to examine practices to see what could be modified or ended while still maintaining safety and security. Sgt. Clugston said, "Every little bit helps when it comes to saving energy. We try to communicate frequently to the entire base so that it is a team effort, a joint effort, and we want to hear ideas so we can do better."

In some instances lighting is now set on timers to automatically cut off at a certain time on the flight line. In other situations, automatic motion detectors turn on and off lighting when a person is in a room, hallway or building. Targeted exterior lights around some buildings are turned off completely. In all new construction the most modern, energy efficient lighting fixtures are installed.

Older magnetic ballast electrical lighting systems are being replaced by new electronic ballast systems because the electronic systems last longer, extending the time needed to replace, provide the same if not better lighting, and cost about one-third less to use in terms of the watts needed to generate light.


In 2000 a geothermal heating and cooling system was installed during initial construction in the Squadron Operations and Aeromedical Evacuation building; the system uses the constant temperature of the earth to heat and cool the facility. The geothermal system uses 64 wells, each 275 feet deep, in an enclosed loop system. "It is the biggest building on base and the cheapest to run, and there are no backup fossil fuel systems," said Tech. Sgt. Ken Bennett, 166th Civil Engineer Squadron, who works with a fellow HVAC mechanic, Master Sgt. Dan Hagan, on all HVAC installations.

In April 2007, a geothermal system was approved for each phase of a new large hangar project with the first phase of construction to start in the near future. Cooling and heating will be 100 percent geothermal for the hanger and all new support shops attached to the hanger. The design structure is capable of supporting the future installation of solar panels for electrical generation, especially to offset peak summer electrical loads.

This may either be one of the first, if not the first hanger with a geothermal system on any Air National Guard or Air Force base across the country. Also, a separate new Information Operations building to be constructed near the headquarters building within the next few years will also have a geothermal system.

"We are quickly becoming the largest promoter of renewable energy in the Air National Guard," said Maj. Elias Danucalov.


New tank-less water heaters that only heat the amount of water you use at the moment you require it are being installed for all new construction, with some older systems retrofitted. A few years ago two test implementations of the tank-less water heaters were made in the Base Exchange facility and in the environmental shop to determine if the performance merited future expanded use.

In June 2007 a new energy efficient chiller (air-conditioning) unit is being installed in the headquarters building. Only Department of Energy certified "Top 10" systems are used, which means that the selected systems have been tested by DOE to certify that they are in the top 10 percent of the most energy efficient systems on the market and approved for federal purchase.


White colored roofing material has been installed on the civil engineer and flight line facility roofs, and next the supply facility will be retrofitted with the same material. This white roofing material provides 85 percent reflectivity to reduce cooling costs in summer. These materials replace dark asphalt roof material.


In 2006 the air base began working with the Delaware Solid Waste Authority and received a number of color coded recycle bins. Items collected: Household batteries; plastic grocery bags; clear, green and brown glass; plastic bottles, newspapers; junk mail; and cans. Items are collected from units on base, and Airmen can also bring household items from their home to the base to recycle.

Cardboard, steel, metals, wood, tires, and lights are collected in the recycle yard. The cardboard, steel, oil and metals are eventually turned in and exchanged for money which is then used to further base environmental efforts.

Annual amounts of recycled items: Paper/cardboard: 58 tons/year; Glass: 2 tons/year; Plastic: 1.5 tons/year; Steel: 15 tons/year; Metals (ferrous): 1 ton/year; Metals (non-ferrous): half-ton/year; Wood (wood pallets): 3 tons/year; Tires: quarter-ton/year; Fluorescent lights: 150 tubes/year; various quantities of batteries plus used oil, used hydraulic fluid and used antifreeze.

Staff Sgt. William Griffiths, 166th Civil Engineer Squadron, heads up the base recycling program.


For years air bases have used bicycles so Airmen can quickly move small items across flight lines, and the same holds true for the Delaware Air Guard over 61 years. This year the Communications Flight also purchased a three-wheeled tricycle that can carry one person plus computer/technical equipment. And in recent years the civil engineer unit purchased eight small motorized vehicles (called mules and gators) designed to carry one-two people with space to carry parts and equipment versus using a standard truck. For the last several years security force personnel also use mountain bicycles to do patrols on base.


About 48 employees (Air and Army National Guard members) share three commuter vans and save up to $200 a month per person on commuting costs, and reduce gasoline use, traffic congestion and pollution from vehicle emissions.

National Guard federal employees and military members are eligible to participate in the Mass Transit Fringe Benefit Program (described at Under an April 2000 executive order, federal agencies were directed to establish these programs to reduce federal employees' contribution to traffic congestion and air pollution, and to expand their commuting alternatives. Eligible employees can receive vouchers for public transportation, bus passes and other fare media, or vouchers for commercial companies who lease vehicles to carpooling/vanpooling commuters.

Chief Master Sgt. Holly Morris, Human Relations Specialist/Benefits Manager (and new Delaware Air Guard State Command Chief) manages this program for the Delaware National Guard.

Delaware National Guard employees enrolled in the program receive up to $110 per month towards their van pool costs. Each van pool group leases a van from a vendor and pays a monthly fee plus all fuel and toll costs. Three groups use 14 passenger vans leased for approximately $1500 per month. They take turns driving and have a set schedule of pick up times from Park and Ride lots. Employees contact the van pool company to make arrangements to start up a van pool group; once established they can enroll in the program and receive the monthly vouchers.

The Delaware National Guard has three van pools established, with approximately 14 passengers each, traveling daily to New Castle from Smyrna, Dover and points south. Employees save money since their out-of-pocket costs are in the $15 to $40 per month range depending on the cost of fuel and the total van pool members enrolled to share the leasing costs. An employee traveling 44 miles each way between Dover and New Castle five days a week getting 20 miles to the gallon would use 22 gallons of gas a week. Multiplied by $2.85 per gallon of gas, and they would spend nearly $63 a week on gas, or nearly $250 a month, not counting tolls. With three van pools of about 14 members each, 42 personal vehicles are kept off the road on a regular basis.

This release is in the public domain, and any part may be used as written.

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