by Gina Randall
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
1/21/2016 - RAF MILDENHALL, England -- The
environmental impact is important to any organization and the 100th
Civil Engineer Squadron has made changes on the airfield that will not
only save energy, but save money.
"The airfield lighting team designed, built and implemented a raised
perimeter road traffic light system," said Martin Parker, 100th CES
Airfield Lighting supervisor. "This was to increase visual awareness for
The results mean aircraft are able to land safely with minimal disruption to road users.
"As a result, the new road layout now has a clearer indication of when
the control tower implements a road closure for mission-critical
instrument landing system application," Parker added. "The collaboration
between airfield lighting and airfield management minimized the
disruption to the mission by reducing disturbance to the traffic
management system on the airfield perimeter roads."
The safety of Air Force personnel and assets are paramount to base leaders.
"Colonel Bibb (Col. Kenneth T. Bibb Jr., former 100th Air Refueling Wing
commander) and the 100th ARW safety office requested this change due to
a number of drivers disregarding the red light, causing a breach of the
temporarily restricted area," Parker said. To meet road safety
regulations, we reconstructed the existing traffic management system by
retrofitting the old lights to a new raised flangable system.
The primary reason was safety, but other factors such as saving money were behind the installation of new lighting.
"We replaced inefficient halogen lamps with LED (light emitting diode)
lamps into the runway distance remaining markers, which saves more than
$19,000 a year," Parker explained. "Our aim was to save money in energy
consumption and to save money in less maintenance costs over time."
The civilians and military members worked together for the common goal.
"The airfield lighting and structures shops were asked if they could
upgrade an old traffic light system, while at the same time saving the
government money to outsource the work via contract," said Master Sgt.
Arlen Wilkes, 100th CES facilities superintendent. "My team accepted the
challenge and immediately got to work on the design and implementation
of the new traffic light system. Their innovation and means to think
outside-the-box speaks volumes to the caliber of work they can do. The
sky is the limit for my team, and I'm proud to work beside such great
With any project, it's vital to compare the costs with the potential
benefits to ensure it's worthwhile. So far, the team is proud of the
task and the implications for base personnel.
"It's early days (for this project), but since these traffic lights were
installed no one has driven through a red light," Parker said. "And
cost-wise, in two years and one month, the installation versus the
savings will break even."
The 100th CES wants to ensure it keeps the runway operational while not
wasting unnecessary funds. It's a difficult balance but Wilkes is
working with leadership to do this.
"Every single day the airfield lighting and structures crews ensure that
the 100th ARW mission is uninterrupted and the base populace is safe,"
Wilkes said. "They will continue to do so until we leave."
Leaders need to balance the safety of their people with the condition of
the base when its handed it back to the U.K., while ensuring U.S. tax
payers' dollars are used properly.
"The cost of running the lamp halogen for 12-hours a day is $1,320.88,
while the new LED light bars only cost $156.55 to run -- a huge saving
over time," explained Parker. "If you think of this over a year while
including maintenance costs, the outdated halogen lamps cost $19,502.88
to run while the new LED light bars cost the original $156 as they don't
require new lamps or labor and maintenance costs."
While the financial savings are a huge benefit to the U.S., and the
environmental savings are a benefit to the world as a whole, for the
team in 100th CES, they benefit knowing what they do could save a life.
"It's important to understand that safety is number one. It should be
the first thought in everyone's mind when doing any work here on RAF
Mildenhall. Nobody is above safety! " exclaimed Wilkes. "I'm pleased to
say that the work the airfield lighting and structures crews did reduced
traffic violations by 86 percent. Their efforts created a safe and more
secure driving environment around the airfield, and that was and always
will be our goal."