HVAC preps for summer changeover
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- With yet another winter in the rearview mirror and the notoriously humid Japan summer approaching, the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning unit is working to ensure that residents of Yokota Air Base, Japan, experience a seamless transition from heating to AC between seasons.
The 374 CES section services HVAC systems for the more than 600 facilities across Yokota, including 2,635 military housing units, 1,047 dorm units and four central heat plants.
With new and unfamiliar equipment constantly being introduced, it is no small feat to make certain that not only these systems function, but that they are also energy efficient. Yet, the HVAC shop continues to maintain standard.
"As almost all of the equipment we deal with is in Japanese, working around the language barrier has been the biggest challenge for me so far," said Airman Sean Bialecky, a 374 CES HVAC apprentice. "Thankfully, my supervisors have provided me with great guidance since I first arrived."
Members from the HVAC shop not only seek guidance from their fellow Airmen, but also from their Japanese civilian colleagues.
"A top priority for our shop is ensuring that our Airmen are trained and well-equipped to best complete the mission," said Tech. Sgt. Phillip Smith, 374 CES HVAC NCO in charge of implementation and planning. "One way we can do that is by sending our Airmen out on jobs where they work hand in hand with their fellow Japanese civilians where they gain an understanding of both the new equipment that they're sure to encounter and the civilians themselves."
Having well-trained Airmen is the essential first step in making certain that Yokota's transition towards the summer months goes as smooth as possible, Smith said.
Conserving energy has become increasingly important for the U.S. government. One way the 374th Airlift Wing is supporting this initiative is through "Summer Changeover."
In addition to reducing the energy cost for Yokota, "Summer Changeover", or the temporary halt to the base's HVAC system, allows CES time to conduct pertinent routine maintenance on Yokota's HVAC system.
"Summer Changeover allows us to exercise preventative maintenance to ensure we take care of potential problems before they arise," said Master Sgt. Jonathan Niimi, 374 CES mechanical section chief. "In addition to energy savings of almost $22,000 each day we don't run AC, the maintenance accomplished at the same time is critical to increasing Yokota's infrastructure's lifespan and reducing the frequency of unplanned heating or cooling outages at other times of the year."
With less than 100 personnel, the HVAC shop is not discouraged by the increased workload on their horizon.
"I'm a part of a team more than capable of handling anything that comes our way," Bialecky said.