Timon Singh

U.S. Army Launches Plan to Make All Military Bases Net Zero

by , 04/19/11

Army Vision for Net Zero, Fort Bliss, net zero, renewable energy, U.S. Army, U.S. Military, Waste Reduction, water conservation

Over the past couple of years, the U.S. Army has announced several initiatives ranging from solar-powered tents for troops to hydrogen-powered tanks, however this is their most ambitious program yet. With the help of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the U.S. Army is aiming to have all Army installations across the country be net zero.

Army Vision for Net Zero, Fort Bliss, net zero, renewable energy, U.S. Army, U.S. Military, Waste Reduction, water conservation

With funds from the DOE’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), the “Army Vision for Net Zero” program will aim to meet mandates to reduce energy as a result of Executive Order 13514. The order calls for all new buildings to be net zero energy by 2030, and it dictates a 30 percent reduction in water use and a 50 percent reduction in waste that goes to landfills. On top of that, the National Defense Authorization Act also mandates that the Army produce or acquire 25 percent of its energy from renewables by 2025.

“The first priority is less,” Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy & Environment Katherine Hammack said. “If you use less energy, you don’t have to buy as much – or you don’t have to make as much from alternative energy sources or renewable energy sources. So if you look at energy, that is a focus on energy efficiency. If you’re talking about water, then that’s water conservation. Or even if you’re talking about waste, that’s reducing the amount of waste we have in the steam.”

The program already has a poster child in the form of Fort Bliss. The military base boasts solar daylighting in the dining facility, warehouse and gym, energy-efficient windows, utility monitoring and control for heating and air-conditioning systems in approximately 70 buildings, and plans to increase the on-site hybrid waste-to-energy/concentrating solar power plant from 90 to 140 megawatts. The City of El Paso has committed to provide 1 million tons per year of municipal solid waste, which will be transformed into energy by the base.

“The Army’s net zero vision is a holistic approach to addressing energy, water, and waste at Army installations,” Kingery said. “We look at net zero as a force multiplier for the Army that will help us steward our resources and manage our costs.”

Considering that defense is a massive cause of national debt, the plan serves two purposes – reduced spending and “greening” national security. If the military can get on board with renewable energy, it makes you wonder why other areas of government are having such trouble.

+ U.S Army

Images © US Army

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3 Comments

  1. Bobs June 1, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Didn’t know the forum rules allowed such briillnat posts.

  2. chris offspring April 20, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    So you don’t see the benefits of having a tent that is run by sunlight (which doesn’t need to be refilled) instead of a UPS (which needs to be refilled)?
    And you don’t see the benefits of tanks running on hydrogen, which you can produce by “using” sunlight with water? Here the alternative would again be gasoline or diesel which lets those tanks depend on oil. Hydrogen can be produced everywhere as long as “everywhere” means “there is water and sunlight nearby”. Means you can “refill” much easier if the need arises and you are not that dependend on supply lines (side effect: those supply lines are cheaper because you don’t have to transport that much “liquid energy”).

    The agenda doesn’t allways have to be about “green” even if it’s sold as such to the public.

    And normally the military drives technological advancements a lot more than the consumer segment does. We wouldn’t have GPS if it wasn’t for the military (just to give an example, but there are plenty more).

  3. Erdling April 19, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    Generally speaking, when it comes to a “green product”, there are two sides of the term “green”: (1) impact on environment, (2) impact on human health.

    With the military obviously being not so good for human health (since it is designed to take people’s lives), now making it good for the environment doesn’t make much sense. It’s like adding sugar to Mercury in the attempt to make the heavily toxic metal better. Or engraving a smiley on a bullet.

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