Story by Francisco Mendez and Anibal Negron, Fort Buchanan Directorate of Public Works

In 2011, the Department of the Army created the Net Zero Initiative and selected Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico as one of the Net Zero Water pilot Installations. The Net Zero Water Strategy balances water availability and use to preserve a sustainable water supply for years to come. Since the Army designated Fort Buchanan to pursue Net Zero Water, the Installation has implemented many projects to reduce water consumption – from high efficiency water devices to well water irrigation systems and from rainwater harvesting systems to potable water distribution system renovations. With these initiatives, Fort Buchanan is striving to reduce its water consumption by 26 percent by 2020.

To reach that goal, the United States Army Corps of Engineers’ Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) proposed, through an Installation Technology Transfer Program (ITTP) project, the construction of the first Net Zero potable rainwater harvesting system with a solar powered pump for Fort Buchanan. The project will demonstrate the technical feasibility and cost benefit of producing potable water from harvested rainwater at an Army Reserve location.

The Fort Buchanan Directorate of Public Works and CERL selected the Installation’s Welcome Center as the project demonstration site. The Welcome Center houses many regular employees and also receives many daily customers among Soldiers, Civilians, Contractors and Families.

The annual potable water demand of the facility is estimated to be 55,000 gallons, which can be collected by harvesting rainwater from sections of its roof.

The fully automated filtration and quality sensing systems provide constant monitoring capabilities of the system’s performance for collected and produced potable water. Its solar powered pumps ensure that the production of potable rainwater does not increase the energy demands of the site. Altogether safe and self-sufficient, the system will aid Fort Buchanan in achieving the Net Zero Water goal by increasing its renewable resource harvesting.

This approach also supports the Army’s Net Zero Installations Policy, encouraging Installations to offset freshwater resources with alternative water sources to enhance water security. Similarly, the Army continues to seek opportunities to reuse or recycle water to increase the beneficial use of each gallon of water. Harvesting rainwater onsite can help to offset the supply of purchased water and increase Fort Buchanan’s water security.

“The solar powered potable rainwater harvesting system is poised to be a best management practice for mission critical buildings,” said Anibal Negron, Chief of the Environmental Division of Fort Buchanan’s Directorate of Public Works. “These systems can provide utility services for buildings during emergency situations, at times when providing potable-quality water to buildings in support of operations can be a challenge.”

Pending the approval of the Command Group, Fort Buchanan will consider similar rainwater harvesting systems for the Installation at other designated buildings on post.

Fort Buchanan actively supports crisis management agencies – such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the United States Army Corps of Engineers – that establish their Operations Centers on the island in the wake of disasters. After Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands in the fall of 2017, Installation vulnerabilities were assessed. One of these vulnerabilities was the water supply. How does Fort Buchanan acquire resources, and how safe are the resources? In either case, the Net Zero potable rainwater harvesting system with its solar powered pump should prove to be a reliable and sustainable energy and water security alternative that will support our future missions and enhance our resiliency.



Story by Jonelle Kimbrough, Strategic Communicator
Army Reserve Sustainability Programs


Puerto Rico has many unique – and many imperiled – natural resources. In fact, one of its most distinctive trees is also one of its most endangered trees.

Named for the red hue of its heartwood, the Palo de Rosa faces many threats. But, even the strongest storms in the island’s recent history cannot destroy the efforts to conserve the plant at Fort Buchanan, an Army Reserve-funded Installation in San Juan.

Fort Buchanan is one of the few places on Puerto Rico where the Palo de Rosa thrives, and the trees at the Installation are some of the only trees on the island that are producing viable seeds.

According to Victor Rodriguez Cruz, an environmental protection specialist at Fort Buchanan, the Palo de Rosa’s decline could be attributed to many factors.

Deforestation has decimated the Palo de Rosa’s natural habitat.

In addition, the Palo de Rosa’s reproduction cycles are erratic, at best. Biological studies indicate that the tree may be a “mast flowering” species, or one that produces an abundance of fruits in some seasons but no fruits in other seasons.

Seed dispersal is also a challenge for the Palo de Rosa. The Palo de Rosa may be an “outcrossing” species, requiring the cross pollination of individual trees. Since its populations are so limited, the pollination process can be very difficult. Furthermore, the fruits of the Palo de Rosa resemble the fruits of trees pollinated and dispersed by bats. The absence of bats, or other pollinators, can contribute to the tree’s demise.

Last fall, the Palo de Rosa encountered a different enemy: hurricane season.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September of 2017. Despite the destruction, the Palo de Rosa’s future is promising at Fort Buchanan.

On May 2, Rodriguez Cruz – with personnel from the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service – conducted a post hurricane assessment of the Palo de Rosa at the Installation.

“When we first climbed the hill to assess the population, we were a bit concerned because at least 40 percent of the tree cover had fallen, and we suspected that the Palo de Rosa might have also suffered the same fate,” said Rodriguez Cruz. “Fortunately, all the mature trees were still standing.”

“Despite severe defoliation [loss of leaves] and damage to the crowns of the trees, the population is recovering,” said Omar Monsegur Rivera, a biologist with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

Rodriguez Cruz said that, as a tropical tree, the Palo de Rosa is a resilient species. “They were already resprouting, and we could see a lot of new growth on them,” he added.

“All trees have an innate capability of resprouting, but tropical species resprout at a much faster rate because their biome receives plenty of sunlight and water, and the soils have sufficient nutrients,” he explained.

As part of its Memorandum of Understanding with the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Fort Buchanan will continue to monitor the Palo de Rosa population, especially as the saplings and seedlings respond to the newly open forest canopy.

“We have seen an abundant germination of new seedlings in the forest floor and saplings with abundant amounts of new growth,” Rodriguez Cruz said, addressing the benefits of the open forest canopy.

On June 23, Fort Buchanan welcomed the city of Ponce’s Boy Scout Troop 514, who planted 20 Palo de Rosa seedlings that were propagated at the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources’ Cambalache Nursery from seed material collected at Fort Buchanan.

The Scouts planted the seedlings near forested habitat to connect the new trees with the known population of Palo de Rosa, providing opportunities for cross pollination and long-term monitoring.

Rodriguez Cruz said that the partnerships between the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Boy Scouts benefit Fort Buchanan in many ways.

“We receive technical expertise from the agencies in order to be more effective in our conservation measures, and they also participate in the monitoring process,” he remarked.

And, as Fort Buchanan cultivates the Palo de Rosa, the Installation also cultivates a caring, conservation-minded community – particularly among the children, who feel that they are contributing to the protection of a species unique to the island.

“We are creating conscious environmental stewards at an early age, which is key to long-term commitment,” said Rodriguez Cruz.

Mother Nature Calls in Ecological Loan on Earth Overshoot Day

This year, Earth Overshoot Day is Wednesday, August 1. Earth Overshoot Day is the date when humans have used more natural resources than our planet can renew in one year through activities such as overfishing our oceans, overharvesting our forests and emitting more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than our ecosystems can absorb.

By the end of 2018, humans will use 1.7 Earths, and Earth Overshoot Day is earlier and earlier every year.

Earth Overshoot Day is computed by dividing the planet’s biological capacity (Earth’s supply of ecological resources that year) by humanity’s ecological footprint (humanity’s demand for natural resources that year) and then multiplying that number by 365, or the number of days in one year.

Earth Overshoot Day is an estimate, not an exact date. Humans cannot determine with 100 percent accuracy the day we will bust our ecological budget. However, every scientific model used to account for nature’s supply and humanity’s demand shows a consistent trend: we are well over our resource budget. Our debt is compounding, and the interest is devastating.

Concerns such as erosion and pollution and events such as food shortages and droughts can have many unfortunate effects on our planet and its residents. They can harm our health, degrade our infrastructure and create civil unrest – to name only a few of their worldwide impacts.

The United States Army Reserve has a global presence, and we rely on natural resources such as energy, water and land to be ready and resilient. So, any threats to our natural resources are threats to our mission.

To protect our critical assets and “Move the Date” of Earth Overshoot Day, the Army Reserve implements numerous sustainability initiatives.

The Army Reserve promotes energy conservation, increases energy efficiency and invests in renewable energy. For instance, Fort Hunter Liggett, California generates more than 30 percent of its electricity from renewable technologies. Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico generates about 25 percent of its electricity from solar and wind power. The 63rd Readiness Division completed 21 light emitting diode (LED) projects at John Paul Gaffney Army Reserve Center in Garden Grove, California, for a projected savings of 7.5 million kilowatt hours across 3.6 million square feet of building space.

And, the Army Reserve leverages water conservation and alternative water projects to save resources. To that end, the 63rd Readiness Division has installed drought-tolerant xeriscapes to reduce irrigation at several Army Reserve Centers in California. Pilot projects at Army Reserve Centers in Grand Prairie, Texas and Savannah, Georgia harvest rainwater for vehicle wash and save an estimated 140,000 gallons and 200,000 gallons of potable water, respectively.

Here are some ways to “Move the Date” in your daily life …

Reduce your energy use. If we reduce our energy consumption by 50 percent worldwide, we can move Earth Overshoot Day by 93 days.

Set your thermostat to 68 degrees in the heating season and 78 degrees in the cooling season (where feasible in areas with high humidity) to save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide every year.

Turn the lights off when you leave a room. Artificial lighting accounts for 44 percent of the electricity use in office buildings. And, power down and unplug electronics and appliances when you are not using them.

Replace your incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient light bulbs. One compact fluorescent light (CFL) can save 150 pounds of carbon dioxide every year. LEDs reduced carbon emissions by 570 million tons worldwide in 2017. CFLs and LEDs generate as much light as incandescent bulbs, but they consume less power, produce less heat and last ten to 20 times longer than their less efficient counterparts.

Conserve fuel. If people reduce their driving activities by 50 percent worldwide (assuming that one-third of vehicle miles are replaced by public transportation and two-thirds of vehicle miles are replaced by cycling and walking), we can move Earth Overshoot Day by 12 days.

Reduce your use of hot water. Wash your clothes in cold water or warm water instead of hot water to save as many as 500 pounds of carbon dioxide every year, and wash only full loads of dishes and laundry.

Take a shower instead of a bath. A full bathtub uses about 70 gallons of water, while a five minute shower uses only ten to 25 gallons of water.

Reduce your food waste. About one-third of the food produced for human consumption is wasted. If we can reduce our food waste by 50 percent worldwide, we can move Earth Overshoot Day by 11 days.

Reduce your paper consumption. In the United States, paper products comprise nearly 25 percent of our municipal solid waste, and paper bills alone generate almost two million tons of carbon dioxide. Sign up for e-billing to save paper.

Choose local foods. In North America, fruits and vegetables travel an average of 1,500 miles before they reach our plates. By purchasing locally sourced food, you can reduce the emissions and costs associated with transportation. Local foods are fresher and thus more nutritious, too.

Article by Rosemarie Richard, Environmental Programs Coordinator
Army Reserve Sustainability Programs

For the Birds: Fort Buchanan Conducts Migratory Bird Surveys

In a Puerto Rican forest, a researcher watches as an amber-bellied bird soars on the wind, with only a gentle rustle of her delicate plumes.

“One bananaquit,” he notes.

The birds are common in the Caribbean islands, but each and every one is valuable to the scientists who are studying avian populations in critical – but often ignored – habitats.

In recent years, ecologists have conducted many studies on birds in temperate, urban environments. But, studies on birds in tropical, urban climates have been rare. Scientists in Puerto Rico have surveyed migratory birds in the island’s southern and eastern forests. Cities have been all but neglected – until now.

Fort Buchanan, a United States Army Reserve-funded Installation in the San Juan metropolitan area, is conducting migratory bird surveys.

Such surveys ensure Fort Buchanan’s compliance with federal, Department of Defense and Army regulations regarding avian conservation, and they protect the birds that provide essential ecological services to the island.

Victor Rodriguez Cruz, an Environmental Protection Specialist at Fort Buchanan, said that birds have many roles.

Birds pollinate our plants, and they scatter fruits and seeds, helping the forest regenerate.

Birds also control vermin such as mosquitoes and rodents. By regulating these nuisances, birds prevent the spread of pest-borne illnesses, and they control the populations that harm agricultural commodities.

Last, but not least, birds add cultural value to their communities. “Birding and nature photography are very popular these days,” Rodriguez Cruz noted. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2016 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation discovered that nearly 46 million people watch birds for recreation, and bird enthusiasts invest 36 billion dollars in such activities every year.

While birds benefit our environment and our economy, they face many threats at the hands of humans – especially habitat loss. Farmers in Puerto Rico leveled land for agriculture in the 19th century, and developers razed forests for construction in the 20th century. In fact, 11 percent of the island is now urban.

Fort Buchanan, however, remains a viable habitat for migratory birds. Even in the midst of Puerto Rico’s largest city, the Installation boasts 70 hectares of fragmented forests. The Directorate of Public Works actively manages these forest patches for endangered animals such as the Puerto Rican boa, and birds have reaped the advantages of these practices.

Fort Buchanan and the United States Army Corps of Engineers’ Research and Development Center conducted their first migratory bird surveys at the Installation in March, April and October of 2016 to correspond with spring migration season, breeding season and fall migration season. They observed 60 avian species and 1,760 individual birds during those surveys.

The scientists noted Antillean grackles and bananaquits most commonly among native birds and white-winged parakeets and saffron finches most commonly among non-native birds. Surveyors also observed herons, pigeons, doves, woodpeckers, thrashers and rare West Indian Whistling Ducks.

Some of the documented birds are species of “regional conservation concern.” But, their relatively robust presence on Fort Buchanan is a testament to the Installation’s continuous efforts to protect their forest patches and the island’s unique natural resources. For instance, populations of the Puerto Rican flycatcher and the white-crowned pigeon have declined throughout Puerto Rico, but surveyors detected the birds relatively often on the post survey.

In the wake of Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico in the fall of 2017, Fort Buchanan initiated another round of migratory bird surveys to determine the impacts of the storm on their avian populations and their habitats. So far, Rodriguez Cruz is optimistic about their future. “Tropical forests are very resilient and tend to recover at a faster rate than other forests in other biomes,” he said. “The forest habitats on the Installation are already beginning to recover.”

According to Rodriguez Cruz, the birds can rely on Fort Buchanan’s ambitious conservation plans for generations to come. “[We will strive to] maintain the forest patches as intact as possible to benefit the species,” he said. “And, if projects arise that may have negative impacts to those habitats, [those projects] will be accompanied by potential mitigation measures, such as reforestation, to ensure the long term conservation of our avian species.” The Installation will also protect habitats by ensuring that no pesticides or chemicals are released into the environment.

Rodriguez Cruz said that the community on and around Fort Buchanan can contribute to the efforts to protect and conserve migratory birds, too. Individuals can support local or national bird conservation programs, reduce waste, protect forests, create landscapes around their homes and limit their use of chemicals – especially pesticides. “Most importantly, our communities should become educated about the natural resources around them and the impacts of their actions on the environment,” he said.

So, if you visit Puerto Rico and hear the distinct trill of that bananaquit, listen close. Her melody may be praise for Fort Buchanan and their efforts to protect their avian communities. A verdant oasis in the middle of a bustling city, the Installation is – and will continue to be – quite literally for the birds, and that certainly gives our feathered friends a reason to sing.

Article by Jonelle Kimbrough, Strategic Communicator
Army Reserve Sustainability Programs

Interior Lighting Campaign Honors 88th Readiness Division

The United States Department of Energy has lauded the United States Army Reserve’s 88th Readiness Division with two Interior Lighting Campaign awards.

The Interior Lighting Campaign is a recognition and guidance program that encourages participants to improve lighting systems – specifically troffer, high bay, low bay and suspended linear lighting systems and controls – in their efforts to conserve energy and bolster the energy efficiency of their facilities.

As of February 2018, Interior Lighting Campaign participants have planned or completed improvements to 1.6 million lighting systems estimated to save $28 million in electricity costs and 227 million kilowatt hours of power annually.

The Army Reserve’s four Readiness Divisions and Mission Support Command are among nearly 70 participants in the Interior Lighting Campaign, which also includes cities, universities, retail companies and health care providers.

The 88th Readiness Division was one of 13 participating agencies to receive Interior Lighting Campaign honors during this year’s award cycle.

The Colonel P. Schulstad Army Reserve Center in Arlington Heights, Illinois received an award for Highest Percentage of Annual Energy Savings for Troffer Lighting Retrofits in a Large Project. Energy efficient light emitting diodes, or LEDs, replaced T-8 fluorescent lamps in 1,225 troffers in the facility. The improvements reduced energy use by 231,000 kilowatt hours, or 72 percent, for an estimated annual cost avoidance of $16,200.

The First Lieutenant Robert L. Poxon Army Reserve Center in Southfield, Michigan received an award for Highest Percentage of Annual Energy Savings for Troffer Lighting Retrofits in a Medium Project. There, LEDs replaced fluorescent lamps in 94 troffers. The improvements reduced energy use by 15,000 kilowatt hours, or 63 percent, for an estimated annual cost avoidance of $1,800.

Contractors also installed occupancy sensors throughout both facilities. The 88th Readiness Division estimates that the sensors contribute nearly 25 percent of the energy use reductions in the Army Reserve Centers.

“We predict that [these projects] will have significant impacts on our annual energy use intensity,” said Chris Jackson, Energy Manager at the 88th Readiness Division.

As a Command, the Army Reserve reduced its energy use intensity by 17.7 percent in fiscal year 2017, compared to the fiscal year 2015 baseline.

Improvements to the lighting systems at these and other Army Reserve Centers will offer additional benefits to the 88th Readiness Division as well. LEDs have longer lives than fluorescent lamps, so they will be replaced less frequently. Thus, they will reduce maintenance demands at the facilities, and they will lessen disruptions to the structures and their occupants. They will also generate less waste. Overall, the projects will support the holistic integration of sustainability into the “battle rhythm” of the enterprise.

Energy is vital to every mission in the Army Reserve. With its efforts to improve the efficiency of its Army Reserve Centers, the 88th Readiness Division is contributing to the Command’s energy conservation goals and protecting the critical resources that ensure our readiness.

Story contributed by Anne Wagner (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) and Jonelle Kimbrough (Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate)



Maple Leaf

The United States Army Reserve Command will host its first headquarters-level Arbor Day Celebration on Friday, March 16 at 10 a.m. at Marshall Hall, Fort Bragg.

Arbor Day was established in 1872, when journalist J. Sterling Morton and thousands of pioneers in the Nebraska Territory planted one million trees. Today, Arbor Day is observed across the world.

For the Army Reserve, Arbor Day is an opportunity to publicly solidify the enterprise’s role as a leading steward of the environment. Environmental health is vital to mission readiness and resilience, as our natural world provides land on which to train our Soldiers, construct our facilities and maintain our operations. The future availability, accessibility and viability of land is critical to the Army Reserve, and the Command is committed to protecting and preserving that land – and other natural resources – for generations of our warfighters, Civilians and Families today, tomorrow and forever.

Major General Scottie D. Carpenter, Deputy Commanding General of the Army Reserve, and the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate will host the event with the reading of the Arbor Day Foundation’s Arbor Day Proclamation and the planting of a maple tree on the Marshall Hall campus.

Everyone is welcome to attend the event.


Story by Jonelle Kimbrough
Strategic Communicator, Army Reserve Sustainability Programs

Paul SSCES Quote

Two sustainability professionals from the United States Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate participated in the 2018 Sandhills Clean Energy Summit on March 9 and 10 near Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Paul Wirt, Chief of the Army Reserve Sustainability Programs Branch, delivered the event’s key note speech. Heather Brown, Senior Sustainability Advisor, delivered a presentation on renewable energy projects in the Army Reserve.

The Sandhills Clean Energy Summit is an initiative of Sustainable Sandhills, a non-profit organization that promotes sustainability on and in the region surrounding Fort Bragg.

Now in its fourth year, the Sandhills Clean Energy Summit featured participants from the State of North Carolina, North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Fayetteville Public Works Commission, Fayetteville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Fort Bragg Directorate of Public Works, Duke Energy, and Sierra Club.

Hanah Ehrenreich, Executive Director of Sustainable Sandhills, chose the Army Reserve to join such an esteemed group of participants because the Command has developed a far-reaching reputation for cutting-edge programs and notable accomplishments.

“The Sandhills region of North Carolina is a hub for military- and community-led sustainability planning,” she said. “The Army Reserve has demonstrated leadership in sustainability that supports Army infrastructure, clean technology, and mission readiness.”

Sustainable Sandhills has personal connections to the Army Reserve as well. When Wirt was Chief of the Environmental Management Branch at Fort Bragg’s Directorate of Public Works, his team was instrumental in the development and implementation of Sustainable Sandhills as an integral part of the installation’s sustainability initiative. Brown served as Development Director for the organization from December 2007 until December 2010.

For Wirt and Brown, the Sandhills Clean Energy Summit was a prime opportunity to impart the Army Reserve’s successes, share its innovative approaches with a broad audience, and build important partnerships with community agencies.

“Energy and water are critical to nearly every aspect of the Army Reserve’s mission,” said Wirt. “Yet, we face many threats to our resources. We must secure our energy and water assets, for now and for the future. Clean energy will be a key component of our holistic initiatives, as we push the Army Reserve toward true resilience and even energy and water independence. We were pleased to share our energy and water visions with our colleagues in sustainability at this event, and we were especially honored to do so in the Fort Bragg community, which could be considered the ‘cradle of sustainability’ for the entire Army.”

“Almost 800 Army Reserve Centers are located in communities across the country,” Brown added. “It is imperative that we maintain strong relationships with community organizations such as Sustainable Sandhills to ensure that we are good neighbors and stewards. These communities support the Army Reserve with Soldiers, their Families, and their resources. We’re all ultimately striving to reach one goal: to be sustainable and resilient in the face of ever-changing challenges. By sharing successes, lessons learned, and expertise with each other, we are building enduring relationships that benefit both the Army Reserve and the communities that we serve.”

At the Sandhills Clean Energy Summit, Addison “Tad” Davis introduced Wirt as the key note presenter. Davis is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and the Environment. He is also a founding and current member of the Sustainable Sandhills Board of Directors.

Wirt and Brown discussed the Army Reserve’s multifaceted energy and water security efforts in their presentations. In accordance with its Energy Security and Water Security Implementation Strategies, the Command is striving to reduce its energy and water use, increase its energy and water efficiency, leverage renewable and alternative energy and water sources, and create a culture of resource-conscious Soldiers, Civilians, and Families. The Army Reserve as a whole reduced its energy use intensity by 17.7 percent in fiscal year 2017, compared to the fiscal year 2015 baseline, and it has reduced its water use intensity by 43 percent since fiscal year 2007. Advanced technologies such as automated building controls and rainwater harvesting pilots improved the energy and water efficiency of its facilities. Eighty renewable energy projects – including solar arrays and wind turbines – generated nearly 48 million British Thermal Units of power for the enterprise last year.

The Army Reserve’s energy and water initiatives will bolster the Command’s energy and water security and enhance its readiness. According to Ehrenreich, the enterprise’s achievements and lessons learned will also contribute to the cause of clean energy throughout the state of North Carolina.

“North Carolina has great capacity for solar, wind, and biogas energy production,” she explained. “At the Clean Energy Summit this year, we focused on the goal of 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2050. The military has directly experienced the benefits of implementing renewable technologies in garrisons, and the use of renewable technologies has reduced and prevented security impacts across the globe. We were excited to learn best management practices from the Army Reserve.”

Visit sustainablesandhills.org for more information about sustainability in the Fort Bragg region.


Story by Jonelle Kimbrough, Strategic Communicator
Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate

The United States Army Reserve Sustainability Programs Branch delivered their annual command brief to Mr. Jordan Gillis, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and the Environment, on February 14, 2018.

The presentation covered the Army Reserve’s accomplishments in energy, water, solid waste management and environmental quality in fiscal year 2017 and defined a “path forward” for the future. Featured projects included Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning, energy and water security investments, and awareness initiatives.

The brief lauded the Command’s achievements. Notably, the enterprise achieved a 17.7 percent reduction in energy use intensity in fiscal year 2017, compared to the fiscal year 2015 baseline. The reduction translates into a cost avoidance of over $6 million, or the cost of nine named training missions. The Army Reserve has also reduced its water use intensity by 43 percent, compared to the 2007 baseline.

According to Paul Wirt, Chief of the Army Reserve Sustainability Programs Branch, the Command’s sustainability initiatives have been successful because the Army Reserve focuses on “true” sustainability. “The Army Reserve maintains comprehensive and integrated strategies for every program through execution plans that establish a systematic, deliberate path to success,” he explained. Wirt also praised a dedicated staff and an engaged field, referring to their “passion and commitment to make the Army Reserve the very best it can be.”

In the years to come, readiness and mission resilience will be the primary focus of Army Reserve sustainability efforts. Wirt sees the future as an opportunity to incorporate sustainable practices holistically across the entire Command. “We want to achieve a conservation mindset, reduce consumption, increase cost avoidance, harness new technology, meet Federal reduction standards and become Net Zero wherever possible,” Wirt said.  “But, our top priority is to posture our critical facilities for energy and water security and independence. Ultimately, we need to operate for long periods of time – if not indefinitely – off the grid so that the Army Reserve can best mobilize, train and deploy our nation’s fighting force today, tomorrow and forever.”



Story by Birgitte Dodd, Sustainability Strategist
Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate

The Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate supported nominations for the Secretary of the Army Environmental Awards from the 63rd and 88th Readiness Divisions.

The 88th Readiness Division submitted a nomination in the category of Environmental Quality, Individual or Team. The nomination described how the 88th Readiness Division’s Environmental Training Team mitigates environmental risk by providing preventative training and unit-level interaction across over 300 Army Reserve facilities in 19 states. The Team focuses to ensure environmental compliance at every facility, promote overall environmental awareness and provide emphasis on critical focus areas of the command.

The 63rd Readiness Division submitted a nomination in the category of Environmental Quality, Non-Industrial Installation. The nomination highlighted the robust environmental program at the 63rd Readiness Division and its dedicated, skilled and experienced professionals, who engage in a spectrum of practices that support sustainable operations.

The Division also submitted an award nomination for Natural Resources Conservation, Individual or Team. The nomination showcased impressive accomplishments from the Natural Resources Team that have contributed to the continued protection of endangered species. Most notably, efforts led to the conservation of rare plants, including the federally listed, endangered Monterey Spineflower and the state listed, rare Sandmat Manzanita and Wedgeleaf Horkelia.

Winners of the Secretary of the Army Environmental Awards will compete at the Secretary of Defense level in early 2018.