Army Going Net Zero on Environmental Impact

This week, the US Army announced that six bases will go "net zero" energy by producing all the energy they consume on site.

Another six bases will shoot for "net zero" water by limiting and recycling water, and another six will move toward "net  zero" waste by constructing net zero housing, recycling waste and phasing out landfills.

The target date for these first pilot bases to fulfill these missions is 2020. Until then, bases are required to submit quarterly reports documenting their challenges and successes.

The "net zero" energy bases are: Fort Detrick, Maryland; Fort Hunter Liggett, Park Reserve Forces Training Area and Sierra Army Depot, California; Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands; and West Point, New York.

Net zero water bases: Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD.; Camp Rilea, OR; Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico; Fort Riley, KS; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA; and Tobyhanna Army Depot, PA.

Net zero waste: Fort Detrick, Fort Hunter Liggett, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Ford Hood, TX; Fort Polk, LA; U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr, Germany.

The Oregon Army National Guard volunteered to go net zero – on energy, waste and water – across the state, as did Fort Bliss in Texas and Fort Carson in Colorado.

"Striving for net zero is operationally necessary, financially prudent and critical to our mission," said Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment. 

Last week, Fort Hunter Liggett in California began construction of a 1 MW solar system that will supply about a third of the energy at the base.

The Army plans to add 25 more bases in each net zero category in FY 2014.

This June, representatives from the pilot bases will receive training and technical assistance to help them achieve their goals. Following that they will participate in monthly conference calls to share experiences.

The Department of Defense said last week that it met some sustainability targets and missed others for 2010.

DOD reduced energy intensity 11.2% compared to 2003 – short of its 15% goal – and needs to catch up to meet the 30% by 2015 target. 

It’s also not on track on reducing petroleum use –  fleetwide petroleum use declined 6.6% since 2005 (goal is  10%); the goal is 20% by 2015.

DOD is now using 11.3% renewable energy and reduced water use 12.9% from 2007, on track to meet its goal of 26% in 2020.

See the DOD scorecard:

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