GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Seabee base in Gulfport has already been recognized twice by the Secretary of the Navy for being the most energy-efficient base per square foot in the Navy.
One base official involved with the effort said being energy-efficient took years but has resulted in more than accolades from the Navy's top brass. The base is still transitioning into becoming greener.
"We're trying to do everything we can to teach people that every time they turn a switch off when they don't need electricity, we can spend that money somewhere else," said NMCB 7 Facilities Director of Public Works Department Matthew Shultz.
Seabee base Public Works Facilities Director Matthew Shultz said saving energy is both financially and environmentally beneficial, which is why he said Naval Construction Battalion Center's recognition for the most energy-efficient base is an added benefit to being smart with electricity.
"We just changed out eight of those energy-efficient chillers," he explained. "They are the big units outside that cool the building."
Over the past three years, the Seabee base has changed out all of its outside lighting to LED, which uses less energy and provides better, brighter lighting. Now, they are working on the lights inside buildings.
"Right now, I just finished some interior lighting, changed out fluorescent (bulbs) with LED's and I've got another one in the books we're working right now with a contractor that's about another $3 million dollars worth of work," he added.
Shultz said saving energy goes beyond changing technology; it's got to be a mindset. That's why he regularly educates base personnel using displays that show how much power is used.
"If you're not consuming it, that means that the power plants don't have to make it," Shultz said. "That means were not burning fossil fuels. So if you're not doing that, you're not putting those gases into the atmosphere and every little bit helps."
Shultz said ten years ago, the bases' power bill each year was around $5 million; now, it's about $3.2 million dollars a year. His tip for anyone wanting to be more green: change out your light bulbs to LED's and, if you can't afford to do it in every room, just change the bulbs in the rooms that get the most use.