Military bases adopt Operation Change Out

Beaufort's on-base military homes were among the first in the nation to adopt an initiative to make government housing more environmentally friendly.

Housing for Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island were two of the first five military bases in the country to adopt Operation Change Out, a Pentagon-Energy Department initiative to replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient, compact fluorescent bulbs in on-base housing at more than 200 U.S. military bases.

More than 8,500 bulbs were replaced in

718 on-base homes in Beaufort, said Dixie Lanier, spokeswoman for Atlantic Marine Corps Communities, parent company of Beaufort's Tri-Command


"We replaced five lightbulbs in every home with compact fluorescent lightbulbs, completely free of charge to the residents," she said. "We believe in sustainability -- economically, environmentally and socially."

The fluorescent bulbs, which have an average lifespan of 10 years, will prevent more than 95 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions and save taxpayers more than $7 million in energy costs over the lifetime of the bulbs, according to the Department of Energy.

A single compact flourescent bulb can save about $30 in electricity costs and prevent more than 400 pounds of greenhouse gas emission in its lifetime, an equivalent of keeping nearly 200 pounds of coal from being burned, the department said.

Atlantic Marine Corps Communities was the first private company to replace all of its lightbulbs as part of the government initiative, Lanier said.

She added that the company has replaced more than 40,000 lightbulbs in 8,000-plus homes along the Atlantic Coast, including changing out 17,500 bulbs at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., which was the first military base to participate in Operation Change Out.

Since the project began in April, the Department of Defense said it's saved more than 12 million kilowatt-hours of electricity andmore than $1 million in energy costs.