Story by Jonelle Kimbrough, Strategic Communicator
Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate
Energy touches nearly every aspect of the United States Army Reserve’s mission, from the electricity that powers our Army Reserve Centers to the fuel that powers our vehicles. To maintain readiness and adapt to a constantly evolving global presence, the Army Reserve is striving to conserve energy and other vital assets.
In fiscal year 2016, the Army Reserve proved its commitment to that goal.
According to the United States Army Reserve Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Energy Management Report, the Army Reserve achieved a 17.9 percent reduction in energy use intensity last year, compared to the fiscal year 2015 baseline. The reduction far exceeded a Federal goal of a 2.5 percent annual reduction in energy use intensity.
“The Army Reserve is a leader in the Department of Defense’s charge to save natural, fiscal and operational resources and to accomplish goals toward energy security,” said Paul Wirt, Chief of the Army Reserve Sustainability Programs Branch.
Nine of the ten Army Reserve-funded Installations, Regional Support Commands and Mission Support Command reported a reduction in energy use intensity, and seven of those ten sites reported reductions of at least 12 percent.
Furthermore, the enterprise’s reduction in energy use intensity translated into a significant cost avoidance of $6.7 million in fiscal year 2016 – a cost equivalent to staging nine Army Reserve training exercises.
“If we can conserve energy in our facilities, we can ensure that our resources are directed to our most critical missions,” Wirt explained. “If we are reducing the energy consumption and cost for services such as lighting and heating, we can focus our efforts and attention on energy security and resilience for our facilities.”
Diverse initiatives throughout the enterprise contributed to the Army Reserve’s efforts to save energy, increase energy efficiency and reduce America’s dependence on foreign fossil fuels. For instance, the 99th Regional Support Command leveraged a portion of its Energy Savings Performance Contract to replace fluorescent lights with light emitting diodes at Technical Sergeant Vernon McGarity Army Reserve Center in Pennsylvania, where the improvements reduced energy consumption by 51 percent and conserved an estimated 184,000 kilowatt hours of energy. The Army Reserve implemented solar projects at the 9th Mission Support Command, the 88th Regional Support Command and Fort McCoy, contributing to the generation of 46.3 million British Thermal Units of renewable energy in fiscal year 2016. Fort Hunter Liggett used heat pump technologies and other holistic energy recovery opportunities to increase the energy efficiency of four Transient Training Enlisted barracks and push the Installation toward Net Zero, when it will produce as much energy as it consumes. In addition, the Army Reserve continued its endeavors to create an energy conscious culture among the Soldiers, Civilians and Families who are uniquely positioned to serve as stewards in the ranks of the Army as well as the ranks of their communities.
Wirt believes that the successes will continue to charge the Army Reserve’s Energy Program. “Last year’s achievements are remarkable,” he said. “They are inspiring our Installations, Regional Support Commands and Mission Support Command to be even more ambitious and to expect even more robust results over the coming year. The Army Reserve is taking action to protect our energy resources because an energy secure Army Reserve is a resilient Army Reserve that is increasingly capable of accomplishing our mission today and into the future.”