158th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The 158th Civil Engineering Squadron was recently awarded with a Federal Energy Management Program Federal Energy and Water Management Award from the U.S. Department of Energy, celebrating the procedures and policies they have implemented on base to increase energy efficiency, reduce spending, and preserve natural resources.
This award is presented annually to federal employees, groups and agencies that demonstrate reductions in energy waste, an increase in cost efficiency, and advancements towards energy resilience and security.
This year, the 158th CES was presented with the Program Award. This particular FEMP Program Award was the first energy award received by any group within the 158th Fighter Wing, having won environmental awards in previous years. The Vermont Air National Guard was the only Guard base to win an award across all FEMP categories.
The Airmen responsible for the work that went into receiving this award include Maj. Mathew Lehman, Deputy Base Civil Engineer, and Maj. Jason Villemaire, Base Civil Engineer, the two officers responsible for the design of the F-35 renovation buildings and improving the energy efficiency of these buildings.
Additionally, Chief Master Sgt. John Talcott, Chief Enlisted Manager/Facility Manager, was cited in the award application for identifying a creative solution and maximizing the use of an existing, undersized generator. Instead of replacing the equipment, Talcott opted to replace the interior fluorescent lighting with cost-effective LED lighting, reducing the building’s energy drain by approximately 25-30%.
Other 158th Fighter Wing members who participated in projects cited in this award include Mr. Patrick “Shannon” Kelly, Environmental Manager, Mr. Peter Dufault, State Environmental Officer, Mr. Richard McMahon, State Employee Supervisor, Senior Master Sgt. Keith Tourville, Production Controller, and Mr. Dave McBeth, Property and Facilities, and Tech. Sgt. Kayleigh Buffum, CES Operations Manager.
Steven St. Hilaire, the Resource Efficiency Manager for the Air National Guard who submitted this application, has submitted other FEMP applications throughout his nine-year tenure as regional energy manager for New England and Michigan. However, this year’s FEMP Award is his first-ever winning application, attributing that success to the achievements of the VTANG’s CES:
“This award really talks about the approach of the people, not about the project. There was only one Guard base that won an award, and that was Vermont. And if that’s across the entire federal sector, it’s pretty selective,” said St. Hilaire when asked about this recent accolade.
According to the FEMP Award application guidelines, the category for St. Hilaire’s winning nomination focused on individuals or teams that “implement and institutionalize effective management, policy and strategy for energy, water and/or fleet management”. In other words, this award celebrates people and their effective management approach throughout FY 2018 for the institutionalization of policies and strategies that contribute to meeting, or exceeding, established federal and agency goals, including mission readiness.
“It’s been the culture here for a long time. They’re the ones with the culture that want to do it. I have other bases where we give them the same offers – and they’re not interested. But this base is. They have always focused on being energy efficient and not wasteful. You don’t see that a lot in other parts of the country,” said St. Hilaire.
Recent advancements in technology by the 158th Fighter Wing CES include: installing electric heat pumps, a new solar panel array, repaired solar panel inverter, new LED lighting, improved insulation, infrared heaters, efficient boilers, smart meters, and ground source heat pumps. The purposeful increase in energy resilient components lessens reliance on natural gas and commercial utilities, making the base more effective and ready to accomplish the mission, no matter what happens to our sources of external power.
Due to the dedicated work, attention to detail, and accountability demonstrated by the base engineers, and solidified by the receipt of this Program Award, the 158th Fighter Wing is able to maintain an admirable level of energy resiliency, superior facility management and regular, quality maintenance. By optimizing the base’s operational energy in this way, the 158th Fighter Wing simultaneously increases combat capability: achieving maximum life-cycle cost effectiveness, providing more training opportunities, and lowering overall maintenance and energy costs. This well-deserved award was formally presented to our honorees during Air Force Days at Energy Exchange 2019 in Denver.