It’s March Madness: Team JBSA picks lighting in the first round

In the world of March Madness, picks are usually made based on perennial favorites, legacy programs, high performers and gut feelings. The desire is to keep winning, knocking out bracket after bracket until your team achieves the ultimate victory.

For Joint Base San Antonio, a championship win amounts to a leaner, cleaner, more energy efficient installation. And, the coach – Brigadier General Robert LaBrutta, Commander 502nd Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio – has a game plan. He’s proclaimed 2014 as Energy Action Year at JBSA.

Last Wednesday, Gen. LaBrutta chalked up a win in the first round as CPS Energy Executive Vice President Jelynne LeBlanc-Burley presented him a ‘trophy’ check of $810,425 — a rebate for completing lighting retrofits in 129 buildings at JBSA-Lackland Air Force Base.

Col. William Eger, Andres Hinojosa, Brig. Gen. Robert LaBrutta, Jelynne LeBlanc-Burley, Elias Abulahad and CPS Energy's Garrick Williams celebrate JBSA's lighting rebate for retrofits at 129 Lackland AFB buildings.
Col. William Eger, Andres Hinojosa, Brig. Gen. Robert LaBrutta, Jelynne LeBlanc-Burley, Elias Abulahad and CPS Energy’s Garrick Williams celebrate JBSA’s lighting rebate for retrofits at 129 Lackland AFB buildings.

New lighting in offices, hangars, dining areas, the shooting range and even a dog training facility will save 11,006 kilowatts, or an estimated military savings of $290,000 each year. The indoor and outdoor lighting upgrades will help JBSA-Lackland reduce its annual energy consumption by two percent.

“It is a great honor to serve our local military installations and help them spend taxpayer funds wisely as those in uniform serve and protect all of us,” said LeBlanc-Burley.  “We know we can provide great value to JBSA. And, look forward to working with General LaBrutta as he seeks a smaller energy footprint through efficiency.”

The nearly $3 million project is a bracket win for an installation that Gen. LaBrutta noted is “blessed with low energy costs” yet has the highest energy consumption in the Department of Defense. His strategy is to change the latter.

“Our goal is to continue to be great stewards, to drive our energy consumption down, and to return unused energy to the city of San Antonio,” he said. “With CPS Energy, we’re realizing that our efforts in becoming more efficient results in substantial rebates that we can then reinvest into our critical JBSA facilities, systems and infrastructure.  In today’s resource constrained environment, that’s huge.”

CPS Energy is working with JBSA to reduce that consumption. Future projects include lighting retrofits at the San Antonio Military Medical Center parking garage and at Fort Sam Houston, and for Randolph AFB, new reflective roofs, thermal storage and control systems, chillers and new duct systems.

The Energy Action Year has a personal component as well. Gen. LaBrutta, a United States Air Force Commander, is asking everyone at JBSA to think and act with energy and water conservation in mind. With that kind of game plan, victory is assured as they seek to “Power the Force” and “Fuel the Fight.”

Now’s the time for civilians in Greater San Antonio to get more skin in the game. Make your energy efficiency picks before the high bills of summer begin. Spread the word about our free Casa Verde weatherization program to those who are income-eligible, and visit for great rebates and programs.

Why? Because we all want to win — and energy that’s not used is the cheapest and best victory of all.

Christine Patmon

Christine is part of the Corporate Communications team at CPS Energy.