JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A military town has its perks, like security at our residents' fingertips. But they are required to foot the bill to keep the base running, and a base the size of NAS Jacksonville isn't cheap.
Naval Air Station Jacksonville uses a lot of energy day to day. But Action News learned the base is leading the nation in keeping costs way down.
"Our annual consumption is about $20 million," said public works officer Cmdr. Anant Patel.
As a mandate handed down from the nation's top commander, all naval bases are now required to become more energy efficient. By 2015, they need to cut costs by 30 percent. NAS Jax has almost met that goal already.
"The less dependence we have on energy, the better off the environment is, and also it's national security. We're not relying on foreign energies for our energy," Patel said.
Eleven base buildings are now equipped with solar panels. The ones on top of the Aviation Survival Training Center are primarily used to heat the pool.
"NAS Jacksonville is essentially its own small city. Its energy consumption is very large, so the environmental impacts associated with that energy consumption and the power needed to meet that demand, while not severe, is substantial," said installation energy manager Josh Bass.
Rainwater is also collected on base to flush toilets and wash helicopters. And every person reporting for duty has a conservation mentality.
"We're really pushing the responsibility of anyone who is on this base [that] the recognition of what they're using in their workspace is ultimately being paid for by the taxpayer," Bass said.
The steps they're taking go far beyond benefiting the base. Their efforts are helping your everyone's bottom line.
"We do them because they're saving real money that's having tangible impacts on the mission and the taxpayer," he said.
The base has seven new energy efficiency projects already in the works for the near future. NAS Jax has won several national awards for its efforts to cut down energy costs.