You are here

ENERGY STAR® Operation Change Out - The Military Challenge Campaign Launch

April 22, 2008 - 11:31am


Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Secretary Bodman

Thank you, Colonel Flatau.  It's a true honor and a pleasure to be here today and to be able to take part in your energy-saving efforts here on base.  I want to thank all the members of our nation's armed forces, as well as their families, who are with us.  And I'm especially pleased to welcome all the students who are here in celebration of Earth Day.

When I think about Camp Lejeune and the United States Marine Corps one word comes to mind above all others excellence.  The history of this base and the units who train and live here is long and distinguished and your collective service to our nation extends beyond all measures of courage, of strength and of sacrifice.

But your leadership has not been confined to the battlefield.  This entire community active duty military, retired personnel, families and civilian support staff is not only committed to excellence when deployed around the world, but excellence here at home as well.

And so it's fitting that we're making this announcement here on Earth Day.  Operation Change Out is a joint effort of the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense.  It is a national, military-focused energy-efficiency campaign aimed at replacing inefficient, incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY STAR® -qualified compact fluorescent bulbs.

The men and women of Camp Lejeune are certainly leading the way in this effort.  You have now changed out 17,500 light bulbs - an incredibly impressive number.  And the results will be significant.  Over the lifetime of these bulbs, nearly five million kilowatt hours of electricity and over half a million dollars will be saved and seven and a half million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions will be prevented.

And this is just a start. Our goal is to engage every military base in the country to change out their light bulbs as well.  Changing just one light bulb in every on-base housing unit in the United States would save over 62 million kWh over the life of the bulbs, representing a substantial reduction in national energy use - enough energy to light about 32,000 homes for a year.  It would also prevent the emissions of more than 95 million pounds of carbon dioxide.  To give you an idea of what that means, that's like taking nearly 1,500 cars off the road.

And these energy savings could not come at a better time.  As many of you know, energy demand is increasing rapidly here in the U.S. and around the world as are energy prices.  And these demand pressures will only increase with time.

At the same time, we know that we must develop and commercialize cleaner sources of energy to power our vehicles, homes and workplaces more efficiently and in an environmentally responsible way.  In fact, just last week President Bush set an important goal for our nation: to stop the growth of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.

These are what I call our twin challenges: improving global energy security in a way that allows all nations of the world to grow and prosper; and addressing global climate change and other forms of environmental degradation.

But I'm confident that, working together, we will meet our energy challenges.  Even more than that, I'm optimistic that they represent a major opportunity for our nation and our world.

Seizing this opportunity will require us to continue to invest heavily in clean, renewable energy technologies and alternative fuels things like biofuels, solar and wind power, hydrogen fuel cells and advanced vehicle technologies like plug-in hybrids.  And I'm proud that President Bush has shown great leadership in this area.

At the same time, we must produce and use conventional fuels - like oil, gas and coal - more cleanly and efficiently more cleanly and efficiently.  We also must expand commercial nuclear power, which is the only mature technology capable of providing significant amounts of baseload power without emitting airborne pollutants or carbon into the atmosphere.

Even as we do all that, we have to change the way we use energy in this country, and this is something we all can do today on Earth Day and everyday.  I often say that the greatest source of immediately-available new energy is the energy we waste.

And that's where Operation Change-Out comes in.  Because an area of great potential for increased energy savings is the so-called built environment homes and commercial buildings, though many people don't realize it generate 40 percent of our nation's greenhouse gas emissions.

And I encourage all Americans to follow the example set by Camp Lejeune by replacing their bulbs as well.  ENERGY STAR® qualified light bulbs save you money, and they help our environment. They use 75 percent less energy, last up to 15 times longer, and produce about 75 percent less heat than traditional incandescent models; so they are safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling.

I should also say that, as with many other household items, these compact fluorescent light bulbs need to be recycled in a safe manner.  You have a great comprehensive environmental program right here on the base, through which families can properly recycle used CFLs, in addition to other recyclable and reusable materials.

I thank you for your leadership on this important initiative it is yet another example of the many ways the United States military is contributing to a brighter future for America.

I would just like to close on a personal note, if you'll allow me because I cannot be here without directly addressing our men and women in uniform.  There is a lot that I would like to say to each of you, but my thoughts can be summarize this way: I am overwhelmed by your service, your courage and strength, your dedication, and your love of country.  This goes for your spouses and your children as well.

It is a great personal honor to serve our nation as a member of the President's cabinet and a representative of the United States government.  And at no time is that pride more pronounced - more deeply felt - than when I see your faces.  For it is all of you - and your families, and especially, your fallen brothers and sisters - who have sacrificed so much.  And you have done so on behalf of one simple but essential idea: freedom.

In the end, it is the promises of freedom - the foundation on which our nation was built - that allows all people of the world to believe in a more prosperous, more hopeful, and more peaceful life for the next generation and generations to come.

And so I thank you for your service - today and everyday and may God bless you and your families.

Location: Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

Media contact(s): Jennifer Scoggins, (202) 586-4940