ARMY RESERVE SUSTAINABILITY PROGRAMS BRANCH DELIVERS ANNUAL COMMAND BRIEF

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.”

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63RD, 88TH READINESS DIVISIONS UP FOR FEDERAL ENVIRONMENTAL AWARDS

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.

BIN THERE DONE THAT: RECYCLING CHAMPIONS EMERGE AT 88TH READINESS DIVISION

Story by Tyrone Cook and Robin Sullivan, Solid Waste Program Coordinators
Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate

THE RECYCLING BINS AT TWO 88TH REGIONAL SUPPORT COMMAND FACILITIES IN WASHINGTON ARE LITERALLY OVERFLOWING. BUT, THESE INCREASED RECYCLING EFFORTS ARE PUSHING THE ARMY RESERVE CLOSER TO ITS WASTE DIVERSION GOALS.

The 88th Readiness Division has experienced significant increases in recycling at two of its facilities in Washington: Pier 23 and Victor L. Kandle Army Reserve Center, both in Tacoma. 

The increase has required a change in the volume of the recycling services provided by the hauler.

Pier 23 has increased the frequency of its recycling service from bi-weekly to weekly.

The Area Maintenance Support Activity shop and Units Supply have been the keys to the increase in recycling at Pier 23. They have been diligent in ensuring that all material that can go into the single stream recycling service is placed in the proper containers. In addition, the custodial contractor has worked with the facility to properly dispose of the recycled materials in the facilities.

Victor L. Kandle Army Reserve Center has increased the size of its hauler-provided container, from a 60 gallon rolling tote to a two yard recycling dumpster.

The Facility Coordinator and the custodial contractor have been working together to increase the recycling in the facility.

Both of these sites will soon receive additional indoor recycling bins to support the recycling activities through the efforts of the 88th Readiness Division and the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate to secure Unfinanced Requirement funds. 

The staffs are looking forward to observing additional increases in recycling as more indoor infrastructure is installed in these facilities.

Bin There Done That Post Graphic

 

ARMY RESERVE HOLDS FIRST MISSION RESILIENCE AND SUSTAINABILITY TRAINING

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!

FEDERAL ENERGY MANAGEMENT PROGRAM HONORS ARMY RESERVE PROGRAMS, PROFESSIONALS

The United States Department of Energy honored the Army Reserve with two Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) Awards this year.

The 9th Mission Support Command and Paul Wirt, Chief of Army Reserve Sustainability Programs, were among 27 FEMP Award winners.

Jared Corsi, Bryan Morris, Amy Solana, Benjamin Spiker and Christina Vicari received a Program Award for conservation efforts at Kaoru Moto Army Reserve Center in Maui, Hawaii in the 9th Mission Support Command.

Between fiscal years 2015 and 2016, the 9th Mission Support Command reduced energy consumption at Kaoru Moto Army Reserve Center by 36 percent. Improved lighting and climate control systems conserved energy, and a 99 kilowatt solar array provided renewable power. The center also reduced water consumption by 70 percent, compared to the 2007 baseline. Irrigation controls achieved a 60 percent reduction in water use in only one year.

The 9th Mission Support Command’s projects at Kaoru Moto Army Reserve Center have many benefits for the Army Reserve. Maui is located on a vulnerable, environmentally sensitive island that relies on fuel imports. Energy conservation reduces Hawaii’s dependence on foreign oil, increases its energy security and even reduces the state’s emissions by 176 tons of carbon dioxide every year. The initiatives build a comfortable and efficient facility for Soldiers and their civilian support force. And, they provide an estimated cost avoidance of nearly $105,000 every year.

For First Lieutenant Spiker, the FEMP award firmly establishes the 9th Mission Support Command as a model of sustainability for the entire Army Reserve. Spiker, the facility manager at Kaoru Moto Army Reserve Center, called the honor “prestigious” and “a huge achievement.” “The award is a motivator to build on what we have accomplished here and to share our knowledge, so others can follow in our footsteps,” he said. “For a single facility that is so far from Washington [D.C.], recognition at [the federal level] is unbelievable and really shows that the actions that we take toward energy conservation matter in the big picture.”

Vicari, Energy Manager for the 9th Mission Support Command, shared Spiker’s sentiments. “All of the hard work and coordination involved in moving these projects forward has succeeded,” she said. “The award proves the possibilities of creating energy efficient facilities and saving money in the long run for American taxpayers. It reminds me that, as far as the target may seem in the beginning, we can achieve this for other sites, project by project. For the team as a whole, and especially for those that are new to energy, it may plant a seed as to the viability of energy projects.”

Wirt was one of five honorees to garner a Career Exceptional Performance Award.

Wirt’s career in sustainability with the Army has spanned many years, from Chief of Environmental Management with the Directorate of Public Works at Fort Bragg, North Carolina to his current position with the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate.

Wirt has guided strategic and effective energy, water, solid waste and environmental quality programs that promote a culture of resource-conscious Soldiers, Civilians and Families throughout the Army Reserve. He has been instrumental in developing a Building Energy Monitor Program; managing the Army Reserve’s Net Zero sites; implementing a comprehensive facility evaluation process; and initiating an Enterprise Building Control System to increase energy efficiency at sites across the enterprise.

The Army Reserve has achieved significant successes under Wirt’s tutelage. From fiscal year 2015 to 2016, the enterprise reduced its energy use intensity by 17.9 percent – the most of any land holding command in the Department of the Army – for a cost avoidance of $6.7 million, or the cost of nine training missions. The Army Reserve has also reduced its potable water consumption by 44 percent since 2007.

Wirt shared his accolade with his colleagues and affirmed the lasting impacts of their efforts. “This award is a tremendous honor and a testimony to the dedication of our sustainability team and all of the energy and water champions across the Army Reserve,” he said. “I am fortunate to work with an outstanding group of professionals and leaders who provide the essential support to affect real change while drastically reducing our consumption and realizing significant cost avoidance. By embracing a collective vision to change our organizational culture and make our facilities across the world more energy and water secure, the Army Reserve has embraced mission resiliency.”

The Department of Energy will present the FEMP awards in a ceremony on November 2, 2017 in Washington, D.C.


Greg Vallery, the Director of Public Works at Fort Hunter Liggett, is a winner of the 2017 FEDS Spotlight Award.

Fort Hunter Liggett is a United States Army Reserve-funded installation near Jolon, California.

The FEDS Spotlight Award is a new initiative of the United States Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP). FEMP launched and presented the awards at the Energy Exchange conference in Tampa, Florida in August 2017.

Winners hailed from 16 federal agencies including the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Records and Archives Administration, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Justice, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Vallery was one of 31 winners in the inaugural round of awards and one of two professionals from the Department of the Army to receive the accolade.

Federal agencies and FEMP personnel selected the recipients, who were described as “energy champions who embody the principles of efficient and innovative energy, water and fleet management by connecting, collaborating and conserving.”

FEMP honored Vallery for his work to establish Fort Hunter Liggett as one of the Army’s first Net Zero sites. During his tenure as Director of Public Works, Vallery has collaborated with the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to install eight megawatts of solar systems on post. He has partnered with other national laboratories, the United States Army Corps of Engineers – Huntsville’s Center of Excellence, the Electric Power Research Institute and local utility providers to implement numerous projects that will reduce Fort Hunter Liggett’s dependence on the municipal grid and bolster the installation’s energy security for years to come.

With Vallery’s dedication and innovation, Fort Hunter Liggett leads the Army Reserve in energy and water conservation and efficiency. The installation reduced its energy use intensity by 30 percent
between fiscal year 2003 and 2015 and potable water use intensity by 57 percent between fiscal year 2007 and 2015. Renewable technologies produce nearly 30 percent of the power on post.

As a Command, the Army Reserve reduced its energy use intensity by 17.9 percent between fiscal year 2015 and 2016 for a cost avoidance of $6.7 million, or the level of funding to produce nine training missions.

“It is truly an honor to have been nominated and selected by my fellow colleagues,” said Vallery. “The collaborative team for the Army Reserve is pushing forward for our installations and facilities
to be resilient and sustainable in supporting readiness of the warfighter.”

Energy conservation and efficiency initiatives ensure that the Army Reserve’s Soldiers have the energy that they need – where they need it and when they need it, today and tomorrow, at Fort Hunter Liggett and around the world.

THE BUZZ: ARMY RESERVE RECEIVES FUNDING FOR POLLINATOR PROJECTS

The United States Army Reserve has received two National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) Department of Defense Legacy Grants to install and enhance pollinator habitats at two Installations on National Public Lands Day.

The Office of the Chief of Army Reserve (OCAR) at Fort Belvoir, Virginia received $3,500 to install pollinator gardens at Truman Hall. This year’s grant is the first NEEF grant for OCAR.

The United States Army Reserve Command (USARC) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina received $4,500 to enhance habitat at Marshall Hall’s pollinator gardens. Last year, USARC received its first NEEF grant for $4,000 to install the gardens.

The projects will occur in late September and early October in observance of National Public Lands Day on September 30. Observed annually on the last Saturday in September, National Public Lands Day is one of the nation’s leading volunteer efforts. Thousands of National Public Lands Day events across the country present opportunities for Americans to connect with their communities and practice environmental stewardship.

Army Reserve Sustainability Programs will facilitate the projects.

“Bees, bats, butterflies and other pollinators are critical to our ecology,” said Heather Brown, Senior Sustainability Advisor for Army Reserve Sustainability Programs. Many of our crops are dependent on pollination, but pollinator populations are declining throughout the world due to factors such as pesticide use and habitat loss. “As a leading steward of our environment, the Army Reserve is proud to participate in an effort to enhance pollinator habitat and attract pollinators to our Installations,” said Brown. “The gardens are a place for our Soldiers and Civilians to rest and reflect. And, National Public Lands Day gives our volunteers a hands-on opportunity to share our successes.”

“We were honored to receive our first National Environmental Education Foundation grant last year, and this year, we are excited to further our efforts to enhance natural resources across the Army Reserve,” said Paul Wirt, Chief of Army Reserve Sustainability Programs. “National Public Lands Day establishes valuable partnerships with advocates for sustainability at many levels – from the volunteers who lend their hands to build these habitats, to the Soldiers who enjoy these gardens, to the agencies that support these projects. National Public Lands Day is a great opportunity to educate our communities about all of our sustainability initiatives, and we hope that we can contribute to this event and to the protection of our pollinators for years to come.”

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

Palo de Rosa 2

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

RIGHT AS RAIN: ARMY RESERVE PILOTS RAINWATER HARVESTING FOR VEHICLE WASH

 

Ripples in Water

Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “Into each life, some rain must fall.”

For the United States Army Reserve, the mission is life, and rain is an opportunity to be an agile, innovative force in the Department of Defense.

The Army Reserve Water Security Implementation Strategy guides the Command’s efforts to conserve mission-critical water assets. Goal Three of the strategy is “Utilize Alternative Water Sources,” or sustainable sources of water that reduce the demand for fresh surface water and groundwater.

One alternative water source is rainwater.

Rainwater harvesting can save the Army Reserve’s natural resources and bolster its water security for the future. To that end, the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have implemented rainwater harvesting at vehicle wash facilities in the 63rd and 81st Regional Support Commands.

Susan Loper, an analyst with PNNL, said that rainwater harvesting for vehicle wash is a particularly viable initiative for the Army Reserve. “Vehicle wash is more common at Army Reserve sites, compared to other non-potable water applications such as irrigation,” she explained.

Over 460 Army Reserve Centers across the country have vehicle maintenance facilities.

To identify potential sites for rainwater harvesting, a team from the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate and PNNL conducted a strategic geospatial study. The study examined factors such as rainfall, water use, water demand and watershed vulnerability, which indicates an area where the potable water supply is or will be threatened. About 42 percent of Army Reserve facilities are in “vulnerable” areas.

With the results of the study, the team identified over 300 facilities in the Southeast, Northeast and Midwest regions of the continental United States as suitable candidates for rainwater harvesting. Ultimately, they selected Grand Prairie Army Reserve Center in Grand Prairie, Texas and Harry Milton Kandel Army Reserve Center in Savannah, Georgia as pilot sites.

According to Loper, Grand Prairie Army Reserve Center and Harry Milton Kandel Army Reserve Center have relatively high demands for vehicle wash. Rainwater harvesting can fulfill most, if not all, of those demands. Equally significant, Grand Prairie and Savannah are in vulnerable watersheds due to numerous environmental, economic and social factors.

Rainwater harvesting will conserve valuable potable water resources for the Army Reserve. Potentially, the Grand Prairie site will supply 140,000 gallons of rainwater each year, and the Savannah site will supply 200,000 gallons of rainwater each year.

The projects will also support the Command’s efforts to reach federal water use reduction goals. As a federal entity, the Army Reserve must reduce its water use intensity by two percent annually – for a total reduction of 36 percent – by 2025, compared to a 2007 baseline. The Army Reserve has reduced water use intensity across the enterprise by 44 percent since 2007, far exceeding the goal.

Furthermore, rainwater harvesting will leverage partnerships between the Army Reserve and its stakeholders. Contractors installed the pilot systems at the sites in February and March 2017. On-site professionals will operate and maintain the systems. The Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate and PNNL will monitor the systems during their first years of operation.

Finally, and importantly, rainwater harvesting will enhance the Army Reserve’s mission readiness because it saves potable water for the enterprise’s most valuable resource – its Soldiers.

“Water is absolutely necessary for us to train,” said Trey Lewis, Army Reserve Water Program Coordinator. As a former Soldier, Lewis personally understands water’s vital role in the military’s battle rhythm. “We can train without internet access. We can train without electricity. For a limited time, we can even train without food. If we run out of water, we’re done, and we’re done right away. In a cantonment area, the toilets do not flush. The sinks do not flow. Everything shuts down. In a field environment, a water shortage can become a life or death situation, especially in hot summers when training is at its most intense. Rainwater harvesting helps us avert situations that would delay or stop training, get in front of the curve during natural disasters, and help us become – in the event of an emergency – an asset that can provide assistance and security instead of a liability that needs assistance.”

Lewis visited the Savannah site, and his impressions were favorable. He said that, so far, the personnel at the Army Reserve Center’s vehicle wash facility are pleased with the rainwater harvesting system’s performance. “Overall, [the project] seems promising,” he remarked.

The Army Reserve depends on water to sustain its warfighters, maintain its facilities and accomplish its missions. As the Command strives to protect its resources, the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate and PNNL are driving advanced solutions to water security. Cutting-edge technologies such as rainwater harvesting will protect precious natural assets, support Soldiers and fully enable the defense the nation – now and in the future.

ARTICLE CONTRIBUTORS

Jonelle Kimbrough, Army Reserve Sustainability Programs
Trey Lewis, Army Reserve Sustainability Programs
Susan Loper, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Kate McMordie Stoughton, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

 

PLUGGING INTO ENERGY EFFICIENCY

EV Stat

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.

Article contributed by Dmitrii Cordero, Francisco Mendez and Anibal Negron
Fort Buchanan Directorate of Public Works