Marines

Government, military: goal to become more energy independent

27 Oct 2009 | Marine Cpl. Jessica L. Martinez

A hurricane, the most powerful category five storm the U.S. has ever seen and four times the size of Texas, heads straight for the Gulf coast; leaving in its aftermath, death and mass destruction. Although realistically a storm such as this hasn’t hit the Gulf coast, in general, the damage hurricanes can cause and often leave, affects the U.S. as a whole, especially when a great deal of the fossil fuel the country depends on, come from that area.

Currently the U.S. only produces 40 percent of its own fossil fuels. By informing the public of the importance of energy security, the U.S. can reduce its demand on fossil fuel and increase the production percentage while making the country’s resources last longer.

“Energy security is more a movement of the U.S. becoming energy independent,” said Kyle Brown, base energy manager with the public works division. “To understand energy security we have to understand who we are as a nation and how our behavior requires an intense amount of energy resources.  Sixty percent of the energy the United States uses is imported from other countries.  That means if there is conflict or natural disaster occurring in other parts of the world we could see dramatic energy price increases and have energy shortages.”

Although becoming less dependent on foreign sources for fuel is a big step in bringing the country toward energy security, there are several steps individuals can take as citizens to help in this effort.

“One of the most important components of energy security is reducing how much energy each of us consumes each day,” said Brown. “There are multiple ways one can help reduce their energy use, but we must all look at our day-to-day lives and individually assess how much we use.”

Brown said the main ways Americans typically use energy are through their vehicles and homes.

The following are some simple ways to reduce vehicle energy use:

            -Purchase a fuel efficient vehicle such as small car, hybrid, electric, or alternate fueled vehicle.

            -Plan the day and turn multiple trips into one.

            -Carpooling can significantly reduce total energy usage.

            -Perform proper maintenance on vehicles so they can get the best gas mileage possible.

For reducing home energy use, here are some tips:

           -Replace incandescent lights with compact fluorescents.

           -Reduce the temperature in the home or install a programmable thermostat.

           -Reinsulate the house or seal doors and windows from leaking conditioned air.

           -Use programmable timers to cut off TVs and gaming systems during the night or during unused hours.

           -Use energy star rated equipment.

“Energy security is our commitment to investing in a new, clean energy infrastructure, so we can generate our own energy right here on U.S. soil,” said Brown. “This includes developing new renewable energy sources, securing our electrical grid, refurbishing older sources to generate cleaner and more efficiently, and reducing overall energy consumption.”

For more information on energy security and what can be taken to make homes for energy efficient, visit http://www1.eere.energy.gov/femp.