Center Snapshot - Bob Charles
Bob Charles.Image above: Bob Charles, Langley's energy manager, is working with designers of New Town to make sure that the center's architectural future is environmentally friendly. Credit: NASA/Sean Smith.

Every day is Earth Day for Bob Charles, Langley's energy manager for the past five years.

"I'm in the energy and water conservation end of things," says Charles, who began at Langley in 1973 as a co-op student, earned his mechanical engineering technology degree at Old Dominion University and has been at the center since.

His job entails monitoring the use of energy and water at Langley and finding ways to reduce both. The center is part of an agency-wide effort to comply with an Executive Order's requirement to achieve a 3 percent annual reduction in energy use from 2006-2015, based on 2003 figures.

Langley achieved more than a 9 percent annual drop in energy usage in those facilities subject to the goal in each of the first two years of the program.

The reduction goal in water use is 2 percent annually from this year through 2015.

His job also is "to coordinate the activities in order to meet the sustainability requirements that are in various documents," Charles says. A federal guideline concerning conservation technology is "kind of the bible for energy managers to use to implement the energy program."

Every NASA center has a person with Charles' job title, and each serves as a representative to the agency-wide Energy Efficiency Panel.

As part of NASA's commitment to the environment, an increasing "green" push is adding to Charles' job. There is cooperation in the Utilities Energy Services Contract, in which Langley will be audited by utility providers to determine what improvements can be made to make the center more energy friendly.

And he is part of the group working on New Town construction, a five-building package that is going to define the center's architectural future.

There is a requirement to achieve at minimum "silver" status on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design scale for each building. Langley is seeking "gold" status.

"I'm involved in the design process to make sure that we are in compliance," Charles says. The first building, which will house headquarters, "will be Langley's first LEED certified building."

Away from Langley, Charles spends time with his family, which includes wife Tami, a registered nurse in the Riverside Health System, and sons Darby and Kendall.

Darby attended Old Dominion. Kendall is a senior at Poquoson High School and is ticketed for the University of Tennessee, which he will enter as a freshman in the fall to study business logistics.

That entry is spurred by his acceptance in the Academic Common Market program that takes care of his out-of-state tuition.

On the job, "there's a lot more we can do than just meeting goals," Charles said. It's his job to find out that "more" and get it done.

Have someone in mind that you'd like to see as a Center Snapshot? To nominate someone, send their name, phone number and email address to researcher-news@larc.nasa.gov.

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Jim Hodges
The Researcher News