U.S. military bases on a mission to cut energy use

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military said on Tuesday it was switching to more energy-efficient compact fluorescent lighting at its bases in an effort to save electricity.

“Operation Change Out,” launched on Earth Day by the departments of Energy and Defense, aims to blow away all the incandescent light bulbs at military bases.

“By using energy wisely the military can help us access the cheapest and cleanest source of new energy -- the energy we waste each and every day,” Energy Secretary Sam Bodman said during a visit to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, where 17,500 compact fluorescent light bulbs were installed.

Camp Lejeune is the first U.S. military base to change over to the new bulbs, which use 75 percent less energy than traditional light bulbs and last up 15 times longer.

By using less electricity, the fluorescent bulbs also reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming.

There are over 200 U.S. military facilities and changing one incandescent light bulb to fluorescent in every military housing unit would prevent more than 95 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year and save almost $7 million in energy costs over the lifetime of the bulbs, according to the Energy Department.

“These energy savings could not come at a better time,” Bodman said. “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.”

Reporting by Tom Doggett, Editing by Sandra Maler