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The Combat Center has adopted a night-sky initiative to reduce energy usage aboard the base and cut down on light pollution, which means more stars can be seen by the surrounding community.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Nicholas M. Dunn

Combat Center replacing lights, saving energy

7 Apr 2009 | Lance Cpl. Nicholas M. Dunn

Over the past few years, military installations worldwide have been making vast efforts to “go green” and cut down on energy usage.

In an effort to reduce the light pollution and energy footprint made by the Combat Center, the Public Works Division is replacing all the current outdoor lighting aboard the base with energy-efficient light fixtures.

The energy manager for Headquarters Marine Corps at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., Scott Houldsworth, said the transition to renewable energy sources is an important part of the Marine Corps’ mission.

We must ensure a secure and reliable energy supply to support the operating forces and their families through the energy efficient management of facilities’ infrastructure, Houldsworth said. We also need to reduce the operating costs of the Marine Corps facilities.

The lighting project began approximately three months ago as part of a Night-Sky Initiative to reduce the amount of light seen from the base in the surrounding community.

“We used to have the old globe-style lights for our streetlights, but what we’ve done is gone to a flat light design that focuses more light onto the ground,” said Gary Morrissett, the PWD energy manager. “We’re also replacing all the lights on the buildings with security lights that have hoods to focus light down.”

The old 400-watt, high pressure sodium light bulbs will also be replaced with new 200-watt compact fluorescent or induction bulbs, which will cut the base’s light usage in half. The new bulbs also produce what is known as “white light,” which allows for more visibility than the current “orange” lights.

“The new light source is easier on the eyes and the bulbs will last three times longer than the old one,” Morrissett said. “We’ll also be installing solar panels and motions sensors to the outdoor lighting to cut down on energy usage.”

The Combat Center’s indoor lighting is also being revamped in order to save energy. Motion sensors are also being fitted to indoor light fixtures so they will shut off during periods of inactivity.

The current 32-watt indoor bulbs will also be replaced by 25-watt induction bulbs, which will reduce indoor energy usage by 21 percent.

With the lighting project underway and already more than halfway finished, the deadline for completion is set for September. Once the project is completed, the base will be able to save approximately $600,000 each fiscal year in energy conservation

The Combat Center will be able to also reduce its light pollution out in town, reduce maintenance and provide a better quality of light aboard the base.

In fiscal year 2008, the Combat Center was awarded by the Secretary of the Navy for not only meeting, but surpassing its energy saving goals. Morrissett said this is a goal he hopes to continue to transcend.

PWD will continue its initiative to reduce the amount of energy used aboard the base, and will look at alternative, renewable sources of energy to help save the environment surrounding the base.

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