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If you think you're power bill is hefty, check out the annual price tag for Robins Air Force Base's energy.

It's about $26 million.

Last year, the base managed to save taxpayers about $1.5 million by cutting those costs.

Air Force Materiel Command noticed their efforts and awarded them a top prize.

Talking about energy use lights up Terry Landreth, the Energy Office supervisor. He said, "It's kind of exciting because everybody is getting on board."

The Energy Office is a five-person outfit, dedicating to saving power and getting everyone else on base charged up about the initiative.

Landreth said, "We can actually see when we do something. Take the profile of the meter and actually watch it drop and go, oh see. We did something."

A "high mast control system" saved them $100,000 last year, Landreth said. It's a computer system that controls outdoor lighting across the base.

One click of a button from a dispatach center turns the lighting off, when they're not needed.

Using these "smart" power strips in Derrick Andrews software facility helped his unit save 14 percent. That's $45,000 in energy savings, and just the beginning of his unit's efforts.

Andrews, a facility manager, said, "We created a quarterly newsletter, and it has a few energy articles, plus our usage."

The newsletter reminds folks to do the basics and sparks ideas for more ways to save.

Andrews said, "A lot of people really get into it."

On an installation of Robins' size, Landreth says that involvement is what adds up. It caught the attention of their parent organization, Air Force Materiel Command, prompting the award.

Landreth said, "We did engage the leaders. We did do those those projects. We did spread the word, and we did get a whole lot of other people involved."

He intends to keep the positive currents flowing, with a goal of cutting energy use another 5 percent in two years.

Landreth says the base will install a power management system on 17,000 computers this year. That will reduce their energy bill an estimated half million dollars.

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