Military families go green while saving green
Energy conservation has become a matter of mission-readiness for Marine Corps installations. Simply stated, improving energy efficiency aboard military installations allows the service to maximize funding available for investment in future operational capabilities. But at the core of “going green” is the motivation to reduce both greenhouse gases and dependence on foreign oil.
Camp Pendleton remains on the energy ethos forefront by integrating new green technology and energy education for service members on the job. But what about their families in base housing?
In recent years, the Department of the Navy embraced the energy conservation concept for all Navy and Marine Corps housing units.
In 2012, Marines and their families living on Camp Pendleton were introduced to the Department of the Navy’s Resident Energy Conservation Program (RECP). Engineers began re-wiring all of the neighborhoods for individual billing and residents began receiving mock bills from Yes Energy that showed their energy usage. The goal of the program was to reduce energy usage in Public Private Venture housing here on Camp Pendleton currently managed by Lincoln Military Housing and Hunt Companies.
So how did RECP aim to meet this goal? In general terms, the program helps incentivize families to make better energy choices while living on base by charging for excessive energy use and giving rebates to those living more energy-efficiently. However, in an effort to be fair to all families and not compare apples to oranges, RECP categorizes homes into what is referred to as Like Type Groups. These groupings are based on factors like square footage, what year the home was built and the type of home that was being grouped. This way, a large 4 bedroom single-family home is not compared with a smaller 2 bedroom duplex.
To ensure reasonable energy use expectations are set among these Like Type Groups, RECP measures the usage of all homes in the group and takes the average, adding 10 percent above and below as buffers, determining this as the Normal Usage Band. All unoccupied homes are removed from that calculation.
A home that exceeds the Normal Usage Band will pay only for the overage and not for their full energy use. It’s a large savings when you consider what families pay for utilities living off-base. Of course, Basic Allowance for Housing use is up to the service member and the choices they decide to make about where and how they live. Fortunately, many service members are proving to make great choices when it comes to energy use.
With billing now live in most housing areas aboard Camp Pendleton, base residents are reducing energy use up to 32 percent. An average of 66 percent of families fell at or under the Normal Usage Band, many receiving rebates. Not only does their contribution to energy conservation fall right in line with the broader Marine Corps’ energy ethos, they can also enjoy a great break on their utility bills.
These savings extend beyond individual families and benefit neighborhoods by allowing for more appliance updates in individual homes as well as communities by putting money into playgrounds, basketball courts, swimming pools and community centers.
Since Yes Energy began monitoring individual home energy use in 2012, the average amount of kilowatt usage per month has gone from 700 to under 600 across all Like Type Groups. Marines, Sailors and their families are not only saving money, they are contributing significantly to a greener footprint.
Family Housing at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton is standing by to assist families with questions about how RECP affects their individual situations. Please feel free to contact Family Housing at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 760-725-5995 for more information.