You are here

WASHINGTON - The United States Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the initial results of energy cost reduction by 84 military bases that have shifted away from traditional lighting to compact fluorescent light bulbs. These bases are participating in ENERGY STAR® Operation Change Out -The Military Challenge, a joint effort with DOE and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). Secretary Bodman launched this initiative earlier this year on Earth Day to help bases across the country increase energy efficiency, save money and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

"The brave men and women of our armed forces have answered the call once again to protect our country by combating global climate change, reducing our dependency on foreign oil, cutting costs, and enhancing our national security." Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy John Mizroch said. "Our campaign slogan is, 'Take Command of Your Energy Future,' and the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard did just that."

Operation Change Out supports federal energy-efficiency goals, such as the President's Executive Order 13423, "Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management," and the Energy Independence and Security Act, signed by the President in 2007. Simply changing bulbs offers significant savings potential for military families and taxpayers, as well as a substantial reduction in energy use at military facilities.

As of the beginning of October 2008, 84 bases have installed 359,268 CFLS in 40,951 housing units. These light bulb change-outs are estimated to:

  • Save over 100 million kilowatt-hours over the life of the bulbs, a substantial reduction in national energy use;
  • Cut nearly $11 million in energy costs over the life of the bulbs; and,
  • Prevent the emissions of more than 150 million pounds of carbon dioxide.

Three bases stand out as leaders in efficiency:

  • Fort Drum Army base located in New York changed out 106,012 bulbs, the largest number of light bulbs since the launch of the campaign. The new fluorescent bulbs are projected to cut the base's energy bills by $ 2,780,271, based on an electric rate of 9.3 cents per kWh.
  • Camp Lejeune, located in North Carolina, exceeded their goal to change out at least one bulb in each of their 3,500 housing units. Instead, they changed out 19,020 bulbs in nearly 5,000 DOD and privately-managed housing units, far exceeding its goal. The change is projected to save the base $498,819, based on an electric rate of 9.3 cents per kWh, in energy costs.
  • Tobyhanna Army Depot in Pennsylvania had pledged to change out 2,414 bulbs. It has changed out 23,158 bulbs so far, for a projected energy savings of 6,530,556 kWh, cost savings of $607,342, based on an electric rate of 9.3 cents per kWh, and carbon dioxide savings of 9,471,622 lbs.

In addition, base commissary and exchange stores have noted a significant increase in ENERGY STAR® qualified light bulb sales. For example, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), which provides merchandise and services to active duty, guard, and reserve members, military retirees and their families, reported a 290 percent increase in CFL sales compared to last year. Since the campaign launch, AAFES has sold more than 45,000 CFLs in the U.S. Operation Change Out will be encouraging participating bases to replace not just light bulbs, but also less efficient refrigerators and clothes washers with new ENERGY STAR® qualified models.

The ENERGY STAR® Operation Change Out campaign will help advance the President's Executive Order 13423, "Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management", which directed federal agencies to decrease energy intensity and maximize use of renewable energy.  There are more than 200 military facilities located across the U.S. and changing one incandescent light bulb to a CFL in every on-base housing unit across the U.S. could prevent the emissions of more than 95 million pounds of carbon dioxide - the equivalent of taking nearly 1,500 cars off the road for one year - and would cut nearly $7 million in energy costs over the lifetime of the bulbs.  One CFL can save about $30, or more, in electricity costs and prevent more than 400 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions over its lifetime, an equivalent of keeping nearly 200 pounds of coal from being burned. These light bulbs also use 75 percent less energy, last up to 15 times longer, and produce about 75 percent less heat than traditional incandescent models.

ENERGY STAR® is a joint U.S. Department of Energy-U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program, formed in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership that seeks to reduce air pollution through increased energy efficiency.  DOE and EPA work to offer businesses and consumers energy-efficient solutions to save energy and money, while also helping to protect our environment.  More than 9,000 organizations have joined ENERGY STAR® as partners committed to improving the energy efficiency of products, homes and businesses.  The ENERGY STAR® label appears on more than 50 kinds of consumer products.  To learn more about ENERGY STAR®, and to view the revised program requirements, visit or call 1-888-STAR-YES.

Learn more about Operation Change Out.

Media contact(s):

Jennifer Scoggins, (202) 586-4940