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82nd CES saves on energy costs with paint
Contractors apply insulating paint to Building 2542 at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, in August 2012. The insulating paint is made with an additive that reduces heat transfer by approximately 30 percent. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)
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82nd CES saving on energy costs with new paint

Posted 9/10/2012   Updated 9/11/2012 Email story   Print story


by 2nd Lt. Meredith Dilley
82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

9/10/2012 - SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- When it comes to cultivating ideas for a Cost Conscious Culture, or C3, the 82nd Civil Engineering Squadron has come up with several groundbreaking ideas. Their latest money-saving idea: repainting aging facilities with a new type of insulating paint.
Much of the infrastructure at Sheppard was built in the 1960s, when the importance of insulation was not fully understood. As a result, many facilities on base have become what 82nd CES director Mark McBurnett termed "energy hogs," buildings which raise utility bills significantly in attempts to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

After studying the problem in a focus-group, they found the new method of insulation, advertised to save 10 percent in utility costs. The insulating paint, which is used by NASA, is a paint additive which utilizes ceramic particles to create a radiant barrier.

Utilizing the new paint, one of the base's older concrete block buildings was repainted. The difference inside the facility was immediate.

"There was a noticeable change right away," McBurnett said. "Occupants of the building remarked that they had never seen the building temperature below eighty degrees, even with the air conditioner running continuously. It's a lot cooler than that now. "

During measurement, a 30 percent reduction in heat transfer in the building was noted, which allowed the temperature to remain comfortably in the 70 degrees Fahrenheit range.

The reduced heat transfer also increases efficiency by reducing maintenance and repair costs, as air conditioners and heaters are subject to less stress.

The money savings go further than utility costs. At $12 per pack, which is enough for one gallon of paint, the paint is a cheap alternative to traditional insulation, and the overall cost savings far outweigh the investment. It also has the added benefit that once applied, it will not wear off or fade.

"I know I can't paint every building on base, but a ten percent utility savings base wide would equate to a $120,000 savings in the month of August alone," said McBurnett.

The paint additive is a space saver as well. Two coats each on the inside and outside of the building have the same effect as an additional six inches of traditional insulation.

Recently, Sheppard was awarded $100,000 for placing third in the Air Education and Training Command Energy Conservation Competition.

Brig. Gen. Michael Fantini, 82nd Training Wing commander, authorized use of the award funds to paint more buildings with Insuladd.

"Number one, we're taking care of facilities," said McBurnett. "The buildings on the list are already in need of a paint job, but also need the additional energy savings."

Facilities on the list include building 920, which is a 120,000 square foot structure and the number two "energy hog" on base; building 1927, a 110,000 square foot facility, and building 2330, a 13,000 square foot structure.

"These funds used in this manner will further reduce utility bills," McBurnett said. "This will make us competitive in future energy competitions while improving the appearance of our current facilities."

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