THE INSTALLATION OF THE FUTURE: FORT BUCHANAN SETS ITS SIGHTS ON LONG-TERM PLANNING

by Jonelle Kimbrough, Strategic Communicator
Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate

Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico has a rich and storied history. Its relationship with the United States Army dates to the Spanish-American War with the creation of the Porto Rico Regiment of Infantry, commanded by Brigadier General James Anderson Buchanan. In the last century, the site has evolved from a training camp into an Army Reserve-funded installation that is home to 59 Department of Defense Reserve units and over 26,000 Soldiers, Civilians and Family members. To ensure its mission resilience, Fort Buchanan is planning for the future with Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning.

Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning is a long-term, holistic process that bolsters an installation’s extant planning efforts. The process results in a strategic plan that supports current and future mission requirements; safeguards human health, improves quality-of-life; and enhances the natural environment. Most installation strategic plans cover three to five years, but Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning covers 20 to 25 years and incorporates elements such as energy and water security; solid waste management; and sustainable development.

Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning was first implemented in the Army at
Fort Bragg, North Carolina in 2000. Numerous installations, National Guard sites and community organizations in the United States, Europe and the Pacific have since instituted the process. Fort Hunter Liggett and Parks Reserve Forces Training Area, California were the first Army Reserve-funded installations to complete the process in the summer of 2018.

Fort Buchanan is a perfect candidate to pursue Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning because the post continually strives to improve its operations, services and resilience. “The Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate is pleased to have Fort Buchanan serve as one of the pilot sites for Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning because we know that its commitment to excellence will only strengthen the program’s benefits for the entire Command,” said Heather Brown, Army Reserve
Strategic Readiness Team Lead. “Fort Buchanan’s collaboration and comprehensive evaluation of each step in the process will allow the Army Reserve to develop the best possible path forward as it relates to strategic planning for our installations, Readiness Divisions and Mission Support Command.”

The Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate and Fort Buchanan have cultivated Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning efforts since June 2018. Senior leaders including Robert Maxwell, Chief Financial Officer and Director of Resource Management and Materiel for the Office of the Chief of Army Reserve, and Major
General Scottie D. Carpenter, Deputy Commanding General of the Army Reserve, have participated in planning sessions. Stakeholders throughout Puerto Rico and federal agencies such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency have been involved in the process, as well.

Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning will focus on Fort Buchanan’s challenges and threats, such as natural disasters and financial constraints. At the same time, the process will accentuate the installation’s strengths, such as its modernized infrastructure and bilingual workforce.

According to Colonel Guy D. Bass, Fort Buchanan Garrison Commander, secure resources and accessible assets translate into continued resilience for a post on a rather isolated island. “The unique geographical location of the installation, being ‘an island within an island,’ impacts our existing mission readiness capabilities that require resources away from the United States mainland and affects our response time to support our potential customers – both [in the] Department of Defense and [outside of the] Department of Defense – located on and off post,” explained Colonel Bass. “Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning will assist Fort Buchanan by defining its needs, missions, customers and requirements that will help sustain the installation for years to come.”

Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning will thoroughly address Fort Buchanan’s four long-term priorities, identified at the installation’s Long-Term Priority Setting Session in October 2018: 1) a world-class training complex, 2) high-performance sustainable facilities, 3) an organization of choice and 4) mutually beneficial strategic partnerships. A world-class training complex will meet current and future military training requirements. High-performance sustainable facilities will fulfill mission and readiness requirements with the energy, water and fuel capacity to sustain continuous operations for at least 30 days. An organization of choice will promote a healthy, resilient and ethical workforce and encourage the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual welfare of its team members. Finally, mutually beneficial strategic partnerships between Fort Buchanan, federal entities and community agencies will build on a shared culture of pride and trust to support responsible resource use throughout the region.

Fort Buchanan’s resulting Strategic Sustainability Plan will map a long-term planning horizon; engage key stakeholders; create a culture of sustainability; establish a system of governance; track short-term, measurable action plans; and identify resources. By the end of the year, the post will have a well-developed vision for its future: “a resilient installation that will synchronize all available resources such as its workforce, infrastructure, land and energy security,” said Colonel Bass.

“My hope for Fort Buchanan, as a result of participating in the Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning process, is that it has a plan that speaks specifically to its needs and challenges,” Brown added. “By identifying long-term visions and developing measurable action plans to meet its goals, every step along the way is a step towards a more resilient Fort Buchanan.”

“Ultimately, Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning will maintain Fort Buchanan’s relevance; bolster their ability to adapt and respond to challenges; and create conservation-minded Soldiers, Civilians and Families that comprise a truly resilient force,” said Paul Wirt, Chief of the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate’s Sustainment and Resiliency Division. “The process will also garner support for sustainability efforts at all levels of the Army Reserve and its communities, and it will increase our success in implementing sustainable practices Command-wide.” Wirt noted that Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning supports the Army Triple Bottom Line of Mission, Environment and Community, as well as the Army Communities of Excellence program.

Fort Buchanan has some unique challenges, but the installation’s ambitious goals, innovative programs and engaged residents secure its status as a model of readiness and resilience for the Army Reserve. The best, though, is yet to come. The entire region is ready to guide the future of the installation, and they are eager to see the fruits of their labor. Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning ensures that Fort Buchanan will be the “Sentinel of the Caribbean” for another century of successful service.

Army Reserve Hosts Annual Workshop for Energy and Water Professionals

At the Huntington Convention Center on the banks of beautiful Lake Erie, professionals from across the country gathered for the United States Army Reserve Energy and Water Manager Training Workshop.

The Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate (ARIMD) presented the workshop in conjunction with the United States Department of Energy’s 2018 Energy Exchange in Cleveland, Ohio in late August.

Paul Wirt, Chief of the Facility Policy Division of ARIMD, opened the workshop with remarks about the Army Reserve’s contributions to Army-wide energy and water resilience. He honored the Army Reserve’s newly minted Certified Energy Managers, as well as two award winners. Greg Vallery, Director of Public Works at Fort Hunter Liggett, received the Secretary of the Army Energy and Water Management Award for Individual Exceptional Performance. Rickey Johns, Energy Manager at the 63rd Readiness Division, received a special commendation from Robert Maxwell, Army Reserve Chief Financial Officer and Director of Resource Management and Materiel, for his dedicated service to the energy program.

Judith Hudson, Chief of the Facility Policy Division at the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management, then addressed the attendees. She inspired them to view their energy and water initiatives through a “lens of resilience.” “Ask yourself: what are your critical missions, and how can you support them through the activities that you are doing in energy and water?” she said. She alluded to the Army’s need to be ready in the face of natural disasters. “When the hurricane hits, how you are going to enable your Soldiers to complete their missions?” she asked, stressing the importance of assured access to energy. Hudson also urged the teams to “challenge assumptions,” so they are constantly aware of potential impediments to energy and water security and solutions to those concerns.

In the following briefings, several energy and water professionals from ARIMD and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory discussed topics such as the Energy Resilience and Conservation Investment Program; Energy Savings Performance Contracts; the Enterprise Building Control System; and the Resource Efficiency Manager Program. Anibal Negron, Energy Manager at Fort Buchanan, offered a presentation on the state of his Installation’s energy and water projects in the wake of Hurricane Maria, which devastated the Caribbean island in the fall of 2017.
Representatives from Installations and Readiness Divisions also participated in breakout groups, where they discussed their visions for a resilient Army Reserve.

Wirt closed the workshop with some words of encouragement, reminding the teams that the Army has lauded the Army Reserve’s energy and water programs as some of the most robust in the Department of Defense, the federal government and even the nation. “Go out and continue to leverage partnerships with your colleagues in the field … with utility service providers … with the national labs … with the Corps of Engineers,” he said. “Seek opportunities to conserve … to improve … to secure our energy resources. You have the power. Let’s work toward resilience now, so we can continue to be the most outstanding energy and water program – and the most outstanding fighting force – in the Department of Defense.”

UNCHARTED WATERS: SOLAR POWERED RAINWATER HARVESTING COMES TO FORT BUCHANAN

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.

ARMY RESERVE HOLDS FIRST MISSION RESILIENCE AND SUSTAINABILITY TRAINING

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

Among Saguaro cacti that stretched to painted deserts and palm trees that reached for watercolor sunsets, sustainability professionals from the United States Army Reserve gathered in Tempe, Arizona for the enterprise’s Mission Resilience and Sustainability Training in November 2017.

For three days, professionals from across the Army Reserve gathered to collaborate, share ideas and learn new ways to develop and implement energy, water, solid waste and environmental quality projects at Installations, Readiness Divisions and the Mission Support Command.

Paul Wirt, Chief of Army Reserve Sustainability Programs, said that the idea for the training developed from a need and a desire to tie sustainability even closer to readiness. At their core, the Army Reserve’s sustainability efforts protect the natural resources that are vital to every mission. They enhance the efficiency of facilities, and they improve the well-being of the Army Reserve’s communities. Army Reserve Mission Resilience and Sustainability Training was designed to bolster those concepts and pave the road for new, innovative approaches to conservation.

“Now, more than ever, it is critical that the Army Reserve has the mission resilience to continue operations at our facilities around the world, despite any manmade or natural crisis,” Wirt said. “Energy and water security concerns, environmental considerations, community engagements and partnerships are all critical readiness aspects. Sustainability is all about looking at our opportunities for the future in an integrated and holistic approach. This training is a significant milestone for the Army Reserve in bringing our subject matter experts together to chart a path forward.”

The inaugural event occurred at Arizona State University and Arizona Heritage Center.

The Army Reserve selected Arizona State University as the primary host for the first Mission Resilience and Sustainability Training because the school is a well-established leader in sustainability education. The university created the nation’s first School of Sustainability in 2006 as a part of its Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. Now, their program is world renowned.

Dr. Christopher Boone, Dean of the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University, lauded the university’s efforts to provide first-class educational opportunities to active duty Soldiers, Army Reserve Soldiers and veterans, and he praised the Department of Defense’s role in preserving natural resources for the future. “Without the military, we cannot achieve sustainability,” Boone said. “The military is a key player in the implementation of sustainability on the ground.”

Colonel Marshall Banks, Director of the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate, opened the training at a plenary session that featured Boone; Wirt; John “Jack” Surash, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Energy and Sustainability; and Addison “Tad” Davis, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and the Environment.

Surash praised the Army Reserve for its significant contributions to the Army’s energy conservation and cost avoidance successes, and he called for more “smart ideas” to come from the participants. “Energy resilience is important for the Army,” he remarked.

Davis called the Army Reserve a “true sustainability force” that is enhancing Army readiness, building valuable partnerships and using taxpayer dollars responsibly through resource conservation. Quoting American journalist Thomas Friedman, he encouraged the professionals in attendance to “do a deep dive,” “transform the DNA” of their programs and “reimagine their processes for a more sustainable outcome.”

A common theme among the presenters was transition.

Boone said that both Arizona State University and the Army Reserve are merely “scratching the surface” of sustainability. “There is still more to be done,” he urged.

Wirt discussed a “tipping point,” when Army Reserve Sustainability Programs would move from compliance to innovation. Until now, Army Reserve Sustainability Programs have focused primarily on meeting mandates and creating a foundation of clear strategies and baseline data, from which progress in energy conservation, water conservation and waste diversion can be tracked. Now, the programs can be creative. “Our collective path forward is clear,” Wirt said. “Now is the time to move forward, make a holistic impact, connect with our communities and lead the Department of Defense in the years to come.”

Davis called the training “a learning experience,” and Wirt challenged his colleagues to embrace new initiatives. “Open your eyes, your ears and – most of all – your minds to the realm of possibility,” Wirt said. “Glean a new understanding of sustainability, and use the knowledge to bolster your contributions to an adaptable, resilient Army Reserve – one that is prepared for a future defined by change.”

Training sessions throughout the three days included energy and water security, solid waste management, sustainable procurement, environmental compliance, real estate, and cultural resources management. Participants appreciated a variety of learning opportunities, from tours of Arizona State University’s campus sustainability initiatives to hands-on technology tutorials.

As they learned practical skills that would benefit their careers, participants also learned how to affect a real culture change in the military. Dr. George Basile, Senior Sustainability Scientist and Professor of Practice at Arizona State University, implored the training participants to approach sustainability from a more personal view. “Sustainability is about better decisions,” Basile said. “Think about sustainability in terms of what matters to you. How will sustainability help you succeed? Be the example, and use that lens of sustainability to bring people together.”

Attendees also enjoyed a rare chance to find motivation from one of the nation’s leading advocates of sustainability. Kate Brandt, Lead of Sustainability Initiatives at Google and former Chief Sustainability Officer under President Barack Obama, offered remarks as part of Arizona State University’s Wrigley Lecture Series. “Everyone’s day job should be sustainability,” she commented during her speech. She said that the Department of Defense’s sustainability achievements are powerful “because they show what is possible.”

At the closing ceremony, Army Reserve Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Charles Luckey, appeared in a video, echoing the importance of sustainability to the enterprise. Robert Maxwell, Chief Financial Officer and Director of Resource Management and Materiel at the Office of the Chief of the Army Reserve, also offered some words of wisdom and encouragement. “There is no question that the Army Reserve leads the pack in sustainability,” Maxwell said. “We are all-in. The Army Reserve plays a critical role in the defense of this nation, and sustainability is critical to our ability to be mission ready today and into the future. Sustainability is the right thing to do for our allegiance to our country, our stewardship of our resources and our commitment to our communities.”

James Hessil, Chief of the Environmental Division at Fort McCoy’s Directorate of Public Works, was inspired by his experience. “I thought the training was an excellent opportunity to interact with Army Reserve personnel from Readiness Divisions and Installations and to learn from other’s best management practices and successes,” he said. “I also thought it was an excellent idea to have Arizona State University host the training because it allowed us to learn sustainability from one of the best institutions in the world.”

“The Army Reserve has much to be proud of in the last five years on our path to becoming a sustainable world-wide organization,” Wirt said. “But, this training has highlighted to the participants that there are so many more opportunities that we need to embrace. I believe that the participants left [the training] with a more collective vision of where we need to focus our efforts and how each one of us has a critical role in those efforts. Leveraging and building on partnerships both within our communities and with outstanding institutions like Arizona State University is incredibly important for our overall success.”

SEE A PHOTO ALBUM FROM ARMY RESERVE MISSION RESILIENCE AND SUSTAINABILITY TRAINING ON FLICKR!

ONCE UPON A FOREST: FORT BUCHANAN PROTECTS THE PALO DE ROSA

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

Victor Rodriguez Cruz braved an imminent storm to reach the pinnacle of a limestone hill, where a Palo de Rosa emerged from the Earth. Just beyond the tree, he peered at a valley where a bustling city on San Juan Bay had all but erased a once pristine, wild forest. “When a tree is lost, it is lost forever,” he said as he admired the Palo de Rosa’s verdant, glistening leaves.

Rodriguez Cruz manages the Natural Resources Conservation Program at Fort Buchanan, a United States Army Reserve-funded Installation near San Juan, Puerto Rico. In his role with the Directorate of Public Works’ Environmental Division, he leads the charge to protect the Palo de Rosa – one of the island’s most endangered trees.

Named for the distinctive red hue of its heartwood, the Palo de Rosa is indigenous to the limestone hills, or “mogotes,” of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service declared the Palo de Rosa to be endangered in March of 1990, when only nine trees remained in the forests of Puerto Rico.

Rodriguez Cruz pointed to a resilient tree. “They grow only on the tops of these mogotes. Is that their preference, or are those populations the only populations that are left?” he asked.

Under the canopy, he chronicled the rather somber history and unusual biology of the Palo de Rosa.

Its decline, he said, could be attributed to many factors.

Deforestation and urban encroachment have 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 could be very difficult. Furthermore, the fruits of the Palo de Rosa resemble the fruits of trees pollinated and dispersed by bats. Any absence of bats, or other pollinators, could have contributed to the tree’s demise.

Fort Buchanan is one of the few places on Puerto Rico where the Palo de Rosa thrives today. Still, only 12 Palos de Rosa live on Fort Buchanan. According to Rodriguez Cruz, the trees at the Installation are some of the only trees on the island that are currently producing viable seeds.

Fort Buchanan, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources hope that these seeds are seeds of change.

In 2009, a Memorandum of Agreement between Fort Buchanan, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources  incorporated provisions for the protection of the Palo de Rosa into the Installation’s land use management plans.

The Fish and Wildlife Service uses Fort Buchanan’s trees to collect seeds to propagate the Palo de Rosa, enhance the Installation’s population and introduce them to other viable areas of the island. The Service also visits Fort Buchanan annually to monitor the health of the trees.

Fort Buchanan’s Directorate of Public Works has implemented numerous conservation measures as well. Reforestation has improved the environment for the Palo de Rosa and the post’s other endangered species, the Puerto Rican boa. The Directorate restricts access to the Palo de Rosa’s habitat, evidenced by prolific gold signs that relay a message of caution to Fort Buchanan’s residents. If necessary, the Installation limits the scope of military activity in those areas. They have eliminated the use of herbicides near the habitat. In addition, Rodriguez Cruz and his colleagues consistently educate Soldiers, Civilians and Families about their Installation’s unique tree.

Rodriguez Cruz crouched in the leaf litter to assess a tree’s roots. “Ultimately, we want to recover the populations of the Palo de Rosa so that the Fish and Wildlife Service can remove the tree from the Endangered Species List,” he remarked.

The loss of any tree would impact the survival of the Palo de Rosa, but Rodriguez Cruz believes that the loss of the species could broadly impact the culture of Puerto Rico.

“The Palo de Rosa is endemic only to the Caribbean, so the tree is a significant part of our natural heritage in Puerto Rico,” said Rodriguez Cruz. “Our natural heritage encourages tourism to our island, supports our economy and inspires our art.”

“Our flora could benefit us,” he continued, placing his hand on his chest. “Cures for cancers could be in these forests.”

Rodriguez Cruz regarded the Palo de Rosa once more. Then, he descended the mogote with the company of hummingbirds and lizards. He recounted Fort Buchanan’s important role in the protection of Puerto Rico’s special natural resources. In his voice, hope resonated – the hope that the Palo de Rosa will flourish with the spirit of the past and the hope that the Army Reserve can contribute to its future.

ARTICLE CONTRIBUTORS

Heather Brown, Army Reserve Sustainability Programs
Jonelle Kimbrough, Army Reserve Sustainability Programs
Victor Rodriguez Cruz, Fort Buchanan Directorate of Public Works – Environmental Division

PLUGGING INTO ENERGY EFFICIENCY

EV Stat

Story by Dmitrii Cordero Mojica, Francisco Mendez and Anibal Negron Rodriguez
Fort Buchanan Directorate of Public Works

As part of Installation efforts to increase energy efficiency, improve infrastructure and reduce its resource “bootprint,” Fort Buchanan in Puerto Rico has plugged into electric vehicle charging stations.

Fort Buchanan’s mission is to provide standardized services and sustainable infrastructure in support of the Armed Forces and the diverse Fort Buchanan community. The Garrison is committed to protecting natural, cultural and human resources; promoting pollution prevention through the continual improvement of environmental management technologies; and implementing energy, water and fuel efficiency measures that comply with all applicable laws, regulations and Executive Orders. To that end, the Fort Buchanan Directorate of Public Works has leveraged funding through an Energy Savings Performance Contract to install eight electric vehicle charging stations on post.

The electric vehicle charging stations will provide power to the new plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in the Installation’s General Services Administration fleet, and they are located at the Directorate of Public Works, at the 1st Mission Support Command and at the Logistics Readiness Center.

Fleet managers can use remote management and control services to monitor the use status of each station, determine the amount of power flowing to each vehicle and identify any required preventative maintenance.

In conjunction with this effort, Fort Buchanan’s Logistics Readiness Center has collaborated with the General Services Administration fleet manager to acquire more electric vehicles through a continuous vehicle replacement program, which will replace every fossil fuel vehicle in the fleet with a hybrid electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. This replacement program will support the Installation’s “Environmental Management Action Plan #1: Fleet Fuel Efficiency Management,” which aims to reduce fleet greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by fiscal year 2025; to create a fleet comprised primarily of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles; to provide appropriate charging or refueling infrastructure for zero emission vehicles or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles; and to implement fleet efficiency management tools.

During the last week of fiscal year 2016, the Logistics Readiness Center received three plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and they expect to receive two hybrid electric vehicles and nine plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in fiscal year 2017.

This plug-in hybrid electric vehicle technology combines a high capacity battery with an electric motor with a gasoline engine.

When it is connected to a standard 120-volt or a 240-volt electrical outlet or charging station, the vehicle’s battery can store enough electricity from a power grid or a solar photovoltaic canopy for the vehicle to operate in electric mode under typical driving conditions and during a short commute, therefore significantly reducing the vehicle’s petroleum consumption.

When the battery is depleted, the vehicle then functions in hybrid mode with a regenerative braking system. An “Electric Vehicle,” or “EV,” button allows the vehicle to operate in one of three modes. In “EV Now” mode, the vehicle will operate using primarily battery power. In “Automatic EV” mode, the vehicle will use battery power when possible and move to gas engine power when needed. In “EV Later” mode, the vehicle will save battery power for future use.

Fort Buchanan will continually strive for energy efficiency not only by conserving electric energy but by reducing fuel consumption as well. The plug-in hybrid electric vehicles use about 30 to 60 percent less petroleum than the conventional vehicles.

POWER PLAYERS: BUILDING ENERGY MONITORS TRAINED AT FORT BUCHANAN

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

The United States Army Reserve strives to protect its critical energy assets for the missions of today and the missions of tomorrow. Often, facility occupants are the first lines of defense, and Building Energy Monitors lead the charge for conservation.

Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico boasts a robust Building Energy Monitor Program. Dmitrii Cordero Mojica of Fort Buchanan’s Directorate of Public Works and Heather Brown of Army Reserve Sustainability Programs trained 30 Building Energy Monitors during Earth Day observances in April.

In their roles, Building Energy Monitors will thoroughly assess facilities and identify opportunities for energy conservation. They will educate their peers and encourage sustainable practices. They will also collaborate with Energy Managers at Installations, Regional Support Commands and the Mission Support Command. Ultimately, their efforts impact the development of energy projects that save resources and avoid costs for the Army Reserve. Colonel Glenn Kiesewetter, Director of the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate, called Building Energy Monitors the “force multipliers in the Army Reserve’s Energy Program.”

The Building Energy Monitors at Fort Buchanan certainly heed their callings. During their training, they addressed instances of energy waste in the Installation’s 1300 area, which is slated for demolition. Cordero Mojica and his colleagues investigated the claims in facility surveys. So far, the team has identified and corrected 27,332 kilowatt hours of energy wastes that represent a cost avoidance of nearly $5,000 each year. The Directorate of Public Works will inspect more 1300 area facilities in the future.

“Fort Buchanan is well on track toward the Army Reserve’s energy goals,” said Cordero Mojica, the Installation’s Resource Efficiency Manager. “Building Energy Monitor training is key at our Installation for the advancement and sustainment of the goals established in our Energy Conservation Management Action Plan. This training will create awareness of energy conservation efforts and push our facility coordinators and environmental compliance officers toward mission readiness, sustainability efforts and community resilience.”

The successes of the Building Energy Monitor Program, and other energy initiatives, are apparent at Fort Buchanan. The Installation reduced its energy use intensity by 9.5 percent in fiscal year 2016, compared to the 2015 baseline. As an enterprise, the Army Reserve reduced its energy use intensity by 17.9 percent, for a cost avoidance of $6.7 million or the level of funding to conduct nine training missions. Fort Buchanan contributed 6.8 percent of that entire reduction.

Energy conservation is a top priority for the Department of Defense and Goal One of the Army Reserve Energy Security Implementation Strategy. Building Energy Monitors, at Fort Buchanan and beyond, are achieving this goal by shaping resource-conscious Soldiers, Civilians and Families for generations to come.

 

 

FOR THE SAKE OF THE SNAKE: FORT BUCHANAN PROTECTS PUERTO RICAN BOA

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

Actor Nicolas Cage once quipped, “Every great story seems to begin with a snake.”

At Fort Buchanan, the story of wildlife conservation begins with the Puerto Rican boa.

The Caribbean Islands host some of the most biologically critical and diverse snakes on Earth. The Puerto Rican boa, also known as Epicrates inornatus, is important to the environment and natural heritage of Puerto Rico. However, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has listed the snake as endangered since 1970.

Fortunately for the boa, the United States Army Reserve “has its six.” Fort Buchanan – an Army Reserve-funded installation near San Juan – is leading the charge for its protection.

The Puerto Rican boa is crucial in its habitat, the lush forests of limestone hills called mogotes. Adult snakes prey on pests such as rats and invasive reptiles such as green iguanas. Boas are vital components of the food chains of island birds including the Puerto Rican lizard cuckoo and red-tailed hawk.

As necessary as it is to the island’s ecological balance, the Puerto Rican boa is vulnerable to some formidable threats.

Introduced, non-native animals such as mongooses and other snakes are competing with the boa for habitat and food. In some cases, the interlopers are turning Puerto Rican boas into meals.

Deforestation, urban encroachment and pollution have damaged the boa’s environment. As an island species, habitat loss is especially troubling for the snake. Quite simply, they have no other place to go. “Its limited geographical distribution makes the Puerto Rican boa prone to extirpation by any change created by humans or natural causes,” said Victor Rodriguez-Cruz, an Environmental Protection Specialist with the Directorate of Public Works (DPW) at Fort Buchanan.

Furthermore, poaching has contributed to the boa’s decline. Hunters have coveted the snake for its meat and skin. As early as the 1700s, Puerto Rico exported the oil from the snake’s fat as a major commodity. “[The boa was] hunted and killed due to the belief that snake oil provided relief for aching joints,” Rodriguez-Cruz explained.

If the boa faced extinction, the biological diversity on Puerto Rico would be imperiled. Natural cycles would be disrupted, and the environment would certainly suffer. Nevertheless, the people of Fort Buchanan are working to ensure a hopeful future for the snake.

Initiated in 2013 and guided by a Memorandum of Understanding with the USFWS, Fort Buchanan’s comprehensive, ambitious boa program includes the management of both the species and the land on which it lives. The Installation’s DPW and its partner agencies are capturing, measuring and tagging boas, and they are performing other monitoring activities that help wildlife biologists determine boa populations, activity patterns and habitat uses. They are also enhancing the boa’s environment through reforestation and native plant restoration initiatives.

Innovative projects are driving boa conservation forward.

For instance, Fort Buchanan is investigating the use of an advanced technology called a Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tag to study the boa. A PIT tag for a boa is similar to a microchip for a dog. It is essentially a “barcode” for an individual animal that can electronically transmit information on snake growth, migration and survivorship to the biologists participating in the studies.

Also, the Department of Defense Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) recently issued a grant to the United States Army Corps of Engineers’ Research and Development Center Laboratory to examine “soft release” for snakes that require translocation at Fort Buchanan. According to Rodriguez-Cruz, Puerto Rican boas have very cryptic habits. People rarely see them, but they occasionally venture into urban areas. Wildlife biologists must translocate the wayward snakes. With the soft release method, biologists capture boas in urban areas and move them to designated forests. There, the boas briefly live in man-made pens prior to their full release into the wild. Soft release allows the snakes to gradually acclimate to the forests and thus raises their probabilities for success. Rodriguez-Cruz said that the ESTCP project has the potential to increase the effectiveness of capture and translocation efforts and to reduce snake-human encounters. The Installation could also benefit financially since the ESTCP grant would cover all expenses associated with the soft release demonstration.

Outreach and awareness are essential components of Fort Buchanan’s boa conservation program, too. “By educating the public, we are eliminating a lot of misconceptions about snakes in general and especially the boa,” said Rodriguez-Cruz. The Installation is identifying snake habitat with signage, encouraging its residents to report boa sightings, and training contractors who work on the post on boa protection procedures – to name only a few of the efforts.

Committed to the protection of its largest indigenous snake, Fort Buchanan serves as an example of conservation to the Caribbean as well as to the entire Army Reserve and active Army, both of which play a critical role in the stewardship of our military’s lands and the world’s precious natural resources.  “What we do inside of the Installation for Puerto Rican boa conservation, if deemed efficient, can be useful to the management of the snake outside of the Installation,” Rodriguez-Cruz said.

The environmentally essential Puerto Rican boa has managed to survive despite the forces that jeopardize its very existence. With the Army Reserve in its corner, the snake now has the chance to thrive, and its story will be great for generations to come.

puerto-rican-boa_oliveras

Photo by Eneilis Mulero Oliveras, Fort Buchanan Directorate of Public Works

ARMY RESERVE WELL-REPRESENTED AT ENERGY EXCHANGE

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

What happens when some of the U.S. Army Reserve’s brightest minds converge? A lot of bright ideas are born. And, those bright ideas often go on to become innovative energy initiatives that conserve resources for the Department of Defense and support the military mission.

Directors of Public Works, Energy Managers, Resource Efficiency Managers and members of the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate (ARIMD) Energy Team descended on Providence, Rhode Island in August for the annual Federal government’s Energy Exchange.

Hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Energy Exchange is an educational forum that provides opportunities for energy professionals to learn more about energy management and sustainability in the Federal sector and to establish contacts with others in the field.

To commence the activities, ARIMD hosted the Army Reserve Energy Manager Training Workshop on Monday, August 8. At the event, Army Reserve representatives presented reports on Comprehensive Energy and Water Evaluations, assessments on metering and utility monitoring and briefs on a variety of energy projects. Ms. Judith Hudson, Chief of the Energy and Facility Policy Division at the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management, and Ms. Kristine Kingery, Program Director at the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Energy and Sustainability, addressed the participants and discussed the importance of energy security and sustainability initiatives to the Army Reserve’s mission.

Throughout the following days, attendees enjoyed a trade show and sessions on topics such as integrated energy, sustainability planning, renewable energy, fleet management and project financing.

The Secretary of the Army Energy and Water Management Awards ceremony was held on Thursday, August 11. The 63rd Regional Support Command accepted honors for Energy Efficiency and Energy Management, Small Group.

On Friday, Army Energy Managers gathered for the Department of Army Energy Manager Training Workshop to close the week.

Several Army Reserve delegates were among the presenters.

Mr. Anibal Negron, Chief of the Environmental Division at the Directorate of Public Works at Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, shared his expertise on the use of Energy Savings Performance Contracts and the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program to fund numerous energy conservation measures on the Installation. He also offered a progress report on Fort Buchanan’s efforts to achieve Net Zero energy, or to produce as much energy as the Installation consumes.

Mr. Greg Vallery, Director of Public Works at Fort Hunter Liggett, California, discussed his Installation’s renewable energy projects and Net Zero initiatives.

Mr. Paul Wirt and Ms. Robin Robinson of ARIMD presented on the Utility Rates Analysis Study, which will determine the utility rate structures for all Army Reserve sites and identify opportunities to reduce expenditures.

“The Energy Exchange is an outstanding annual forum for Energy Managers across the country to participate on panels, share lessons learned and learn about the latest technologies,” said Wirt, Chief of Sustainability Programs at ARIMD. Wirt went on to emphasize the positive impacts that both the Department of the Army and the Army Reserve have had as a result of their sessions before and after the Energy Exchange. “We can really build a strong team when Army and Army Reserve energy and water professionals are able to meet face-to-face and discuss mutual challenges and opportunities to reduce our consumption and utility costs and to increase our energy resilience.”