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(Enlarge) Col. Edward C. Rothstein, Garrison Commander

I'm sure you have noticed Fort Meade postmaster messages and fliers promoting the theme, "Team Up to Energy Action Month."

Our Directorate of Public Works is using this theme in a most efficient manner.

In doing this, DPW has teamed up with Fort Meade's Public Health Command as they offer you more opportunities to get your flu shot this year.

As a "value add" to the Meade Energy Open House, Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center is providing walk-in flu shots today through Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at McGill Training Center. Active-duty service members, retirees and their family members, along with DoD civilian employees, are eligible to receive a free flu shot.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months of age or older be vaccinated annually against influenza.

The experts are telling me that it takes a couple of weeks to build immunity after getting a flu shot. That makes this week a good time to get your shot and, at the same location, receive energy-saving tips and energy souvenirs, and have the option to schedule a tour showcasing geothermal (thermal energy generated and stored in the Earth) and photovoltaic (solar) projects that are in operation at Fort Meade.

For a complete schedule of dates and times to get flu shots and participate in the energy open house, visit ftmeade.army.mil.

Past observances have referred to October as Energy Awareness Month. This year, the Department of Energy wanted to go beyond energy awareness and encourage everyone to look for ways to take action to save energy, water and money for American taxpayers.

Did you know that the DoD is the nation's single largest energy user and the Department of Army is one of the largest utility consumers? As energy becomes a more expensive commodity, we need to be more aware of how we use it. We must commit now to conserve energy in our homes, community and the workplace.

At Fort Meade, our energy design, operations and services are focused on the conservation of both limited energy resources and limited funding sources. Our goal is to ensure that new energy projects provide long-term value.

A couple of our most recent efforts have exceeded that requirement.

The recent installation of a solar thermal roof at Gaffney Fitness Center delivers more than $7,000 per month in measured energy cost savings.

We also plan to implement high-efficiency LED exterior lighting as part of our preventative maintenance programs.

DPW anticipates the LED lighting will reduce lighting energy use by up to 40 percent, providing substantial cost savings over legacy lighting.

In March, the installation installed solar photo voltaic lighting in the outdoor yard at Buildings 8478 and 8479, two student barracks at the Defense Information School. The same lighting was installed in the yard outside Youth Services on Ernie Pyle Street.

The solar PV lighting is a renewable energy with an economical impact on energy reduction in which the buildings do not receive power from the utility company grid. It is expected that the $128,000 student barracks project and the $83,000 Youth Services project will return their investments in seven years.

We are just as concerned about finding ways to reduce the installation's water consumption. We are now required to reduce our consumption by 2 percent annually, which puts Fort Meade on track to reduce its water consumption by 26 percent in FY2020 compared to FY2007.

Each of us has an obligation to enhance our effectiveness through individual conservation efforts.

Please take time to review your daily routine to conserve energy and empower others to take action. Working together, I know we can continue to find ways to help Fort Meade (and our planet) reduce its energy and water use.

Always think safety with the changing weather and our kids going to school.

With all this said, have a great Team Meade week!

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