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.

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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

POWER PLAYERS: BUILDING ENERGY MONITORS TRAINED AT FORT BUCHANAN

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.

 

 

Army Reserve Environmental Strategy Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Major General Peter Lennon, United States Army Reserve Deputy Commanding General (Support), has signed the Army Reserve Environmental Quality Implementation Strategy and the Army Reserve Environmental Quality Policy.

The documents solidify the Army Reserve’s commitment to environmental stewardship with four strategic goals: to conserve natural and cultural resources; to ensure compliance with environmental laws and regulations; to prevent pollution of land, air and water resources; and to strengthen an integrated Environmental Quality Program foundation.

The strategy and policy also bolster Command support of sustainability objectives that will ensure continued readiness. Furthermore, they encourage Soldiers, Civilians and Families at all levels of the Army Reserve and its surrounding communities to foster a conservation minded culture.

“The execution of these guiding documents will serve to strengthen the Army Reserve’s ability to sustain the environmental quality of our land, air, water, and natural and cultural resources and therefore ensure the resiliency of our Installations and facilities across the Army Reserve,” said Paul Wirt, Chief of the Army Reserve Sustainability Programs Branch, which is a part of the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate.

All four of the Army Reserve sustainability programs – energy, water, solid waste and environmental quality – now have signed implementation strategies.

The Army Reserve relies on dependable energy, clean water, accessible land and viable air to fulfill its role as a capable and resilient defense force, as well as its role as a good neighbor. “Sustainability enhances our readiness and resiliency for the mission and warfighters of today as well as the mission and warfighters of tomorrow,” said Wirt. “Sustainability allows us to adapt to constantly evolving military objectives, maintain our relevance, allocate our resources efficiently and reduce our environmental impacts.”

“Army Reserve leadership support for sustainability has been tremendous,” Wirt continued. “Such support lends invaluable credibility to our programs and will further the Army Reserve’s position as a pioneering leader in the Department of Defense. While there is still much to do going forward, our entire team is proud of the accomplishments we have achieved so far in establishing a solid foundation of culture change in the Army Reserve.”

ARMY RESERVE REDUCES ENERGY USE INTENSITY IN FISCAL YEAR 2016

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Energy touches nearly every aspect of the United States Army Reserve’s mission, from the electricity that powers our Army Reserve Centers to the fuel that powers our vehicles. To maintain readiness and adapt to a constantly evolving global presence, the Army Reserve is striving to conserve energy and other vital assets.

In fiscal year 2016, the Army Reserve proved its commitment to that goal.

According to the United States Army Reserve Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Energy Management Report, the Army Reserve achieved a 17.9 percent reduction in energy use intensity last year, compared to the fiscal year 2015 baseline. The reduction far exceeded a Federal goal of a 2.5 percent annual reduction in energy use intensity.

“The Army Reserve is a leader in the Department of Defense’s charge to save natural, fiscal and operational resources and to accomplish goals toward energy security,” said Paul Wirt, Chief of the Army Reserve Sustainability Programs Branch.

Nine of the ten Army Reserve-funded Installations, Regional Support Commands and Mission Support Command reported a reduction in energy use intensity, and seven of those ten sites reported reductions of at least 12 percent.

Furthermore, the enterprise’s reduction in energy use intensity translated into a significant cost avoidance of $6.7 million in fiscal year 2016 – a cost equivalent to staging nine Army Reserve training exercises.

“If we can conserve energy in our facilities, we can ensure that our resources are directed to our most critical missions,” Wirt explained. “If we are reducing the energy consumption and cost for services such as lighting and heating, we can focus our efforts and attention on energy security and resilience for our facilities.”

Diverse initiatives throughout the enterprise contributed to the Army Reserve’s efforts to save energy, increase energy efficiency and reduce America’s dependence on foreign fossil fuels. For instance, the 99th Regional Support Command leveraged a portion of its Energy Savings Performance Contract to replace fluorescent lights with light emitting diodes at Technical Sergeant Vernon McGarity Army Reserve Center in Pennsylvania, where the improvements reduced energy consumption by 51 percent and conserved an estimated 184,000 kilowatt hours of energy. The Army Reserve implemented solar projects at the 9th Mission Support Command, the 88th Regional Support Command and Fort McCoy, contributing to the generation of 46.3 million British Thermal Units of renewable energy in fiscal year 2016. Fort Hunter Liggett used heat pump technologies and other holistic energy recovery opportunities to increase the energy efficiency of four Transient Training Enlisted barracks and push the Installation toward Net Zero, when it will produce as much energy as it consumes. In addition, the Army Reserve continued its endeavors to create an energy conscious culture among the Soldiers, Civilians and Families who are uniquely positioned to serve as stewards in the ranks of the Army as well as the ranks of their communities.

Wirt believes that the successes will continue to charge the Army Reserve’s Energy Program. “Last year’s achievements are remarkable,” he said. “They are inspiring our Installations, Regional Support Commands and Mission Support Command to be even more ambitious and to expect even more robust results over the coming year. The Army Reserve is taking action to protect our energy resources because an energy secure Army Reserve is a resilient Army Reserve that is increasingly capable of accomplishing our mission today and into the future.”

Article by Jonelle Kimbrough, Strategic Communicator
Army Reserve Sustainability Programs

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

puerto-rican-boa_oliveras

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.

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

9TH MISSION SUPPORT COMMAND RECEIVES AWARD FOR LIGHTING EFFICIENCY

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The accolades for the U.S. Army Reserve’s 9th Mission Support Command (MSC) are growing by “LEEPS” and bounds.

On October 5, the 9th MSC received the 2016 Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking (LEEP) campaign award for “Highest Percentage Energy Savings in a Retrofit of a Parking Lot.”

The award honored a lighting improvement initiative at Maui Army Reserve Center (ARC) in Maui, Hawaii, where 22 200-watt light emitting diode flood lights replaced 22 400-watt high pressure sodium flood lights. The project will save an estimated 17 million British Thermal Units of energy annually and will eventually propel the Maui ARC toward Net Zero Energy, when it produces as much energy as it consumes in one year.

The LEEP campaign is a collaborative effort between the Building Owners and Managers Association International, the United States Green Building Council, the International Facility Management Association and the International Parking Institute in conjunction with the Department of Energy Better Buildings Alliance. The campaign aims to improve the energy efficiency of parking lots and structures, and it provides resources to both public and private sector agencies that strive to achieve that goal. Since LEEP’s launch in 2012, participating sites have saved $14.4 million and 138 million kilowatt hours of power – the energy consumption of about 12,000 homes in America.

The LEEP awards program recognizes campaign members for exemplary achievements in parking lighting efficiency. Recipients collected this year’s awards at Greenbuild, the world’s largest conference and exposition dedicated to green buildings, in Los Angeles, California. Numerous and varied companies competed in 21 categories. Other winners included Arby’s Restaurant Group, the University of Minnesota and MGM Resorts International.

The LEEP award is one of several awards garnered by the Army Reserve for lighting. The 9th MSC recently received a Department of Energy Interior Lighting Campaign award for their efforts to improve energy efficiency by 62 percent at an ARC in Guam. The Army Reserve has received LEEP honors in the past, as well. The 63rd Regional Support Command won a LEEP award in 2014 for a project at Camp Pike, Arkansas. Improvements to parking lot lighting reduced energy consumption by 85 percent at that site.

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LEEP Campaign