News>Facilities manager drives clinic to win ENERGY STAR label
Dale Boutwell, 47th Medical Group facilities manager, stands by the ENERGY STAR plaque at the 47th MDG facility at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 11, 2014. The ENERGY STAR plaque and label signifies an energy-efficient facility that saves money without sacrificing performance. (U.S. Air Force photo/2nd Lt. William M. Tyrrell)
Marco Esquivel, 47th Medical Group maintenance manager, checks an outlet at the 47th MDG facility at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 11, 2014. By monitoring the daily usage of electricity, water and gas, the clinic was able to save 171 tons of emissions and $23,000 in one year. (U.S. Air Force photo/2nd Lt. William M. Tyrrell)
by 2nd Lt. William M. Tyrrell
47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
2/11/2014 - LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The military's cost conscious culture has Dale Boutwell, 47th Medical Group facilities manager, motivating his facility to save energy with a passionate zeal.
Saving energy allowed the clinic to win the ENERGY STAR label as well as save money for Laughlin.
"I grew up learning to save energy," said Boutwell. "My father went through World War II and my mother grew up during the Depression. They both had gas lighting, and with shortages, they needed to learn how to save gas which they passed onto me as a child."
Boutwell started working as the facility manager in 2012 which was when ENERGY STAR gave the medical clinic an energy rating of 68 percent of similar buildings nationwide. Since the result, Boutwell and his team not only take care of each other by shutting off lights, but also remind everyone around the clinic to do the same.
"Every time one of our team members walk around the building, people start shutting off the lights, so that we do not drill them about leaving the lights on," said Boutwell. "In the clinic if everybody was to leave their computer screens on at night or weekends, we would be spending $700 a day."
Boutwell works with Marco Esquivel, maintenance manager; Antonio Rodriquez, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technician; and Brenda Flores, Defense Medical Logistics Standard Support clerk to keep on top of the medical clinic's energy usage.
"The clinic has systems in place that monitor not only our monthly and yearly usage, but also hourly usage," said Boutwell. "Our team looks at the usage as our daily report card on how well we are doing our job."
By monitoring the usage daily, the clinic was able to save a tremendous amount in one year.
"Mr. Boutwell is constantly working hard to reduce the amount of emissions," said Col. Patronis, 47th MDG commander. "He was able to reduce 171 tons of emissions, saving the Air Force $23,000 in one year."
Since Boutwell has taken over, there have been top quality insulations and energy efficient lighting installed and constant monitoring of sensors to automatic doors and more. With the different upgrades he has helped put into the clinic, Boutwell has received an energy rating of 80 percent of similar buildings nationwide, which allowed the building to have the ENERGY STAR label. An ENERGY STAR label means an energy-efficient facility that saves money without sacrificing performance.
"We are here to take care of the patients," said Boutwell. "There are things we could do to save more energy, but it would not be right to make the environment uncomfortable for the patients."
Boutwell talked about how they will constantly work to make little improvements each year while being able to keep a fully operational medical clinic.
"Saving energy is a little friendly competition for me against all other clinics," said Boutwell. "Although I take it as a competition, I hope this sets the standards that others could follow to help save the Air Force money."