ARMY RESERVE REDUCES ENERGY USE INTENSITY IN FISCAL YEAR 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ALIEN ATTACK: EMERALD ASH BORERS INVADE 88TH REGIONAL SUPPORT COMMAND

Emerald Ash Borer USDA James Zablotny

The U.S. Army Reserve is experiencing an invasion from a little, green alien species. No, they are not aliens from outer space and not escapees from Area 51. These aliens are terrorists that seek and destroy nature and, in this case, trees. Specifically, they target one entire genus or type of tree – the ash tree. Originally from Asia, they are Agrilus planipennis, commonly known as Emerald Ash Borers.

Why care? Emerald Ash Borers are small, metallic green beetles that kill every variety of ash tree by boring under the tree bark and disrupting the flow of water and nutrients. Most likely, they came to the United States from Asia on wooden crates from cargo ships or planes. The first United States identification of the Emerald Ash Borer was in southeastern Michigan in 2002. They have been advancing across the United States ever since, and their presence has been confirmed in 27 states: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The insects are already responsible for the destruction of millions of ash trees in these states.

Fort Snelling Army Reserve Center in Minnesota recently experienced the wrath of the Emerald Ash Borers when they killed all 19 ash trees at the facility. Other 88th Regional Support Command facilities have experienced significant losses, too. At Joliet Training Area south of Chicago, Illinois, about 7,500 trees have been killed by Emerald Ash Borers.

The loss of so many trees could have both environmental and financial impacts. Ecological services such as erosion prevention, water filtration and temperature regulation could decline. Sources of food, fuel and a myriad of consumer goods could diminish, and habitat for wildlife could disappear. Furthermore, the real estate values of infested sites could drop while pest management costs could rise, since annual treatment costs for every affected tree can easily exceed $100 every year. So, the implications of the Emerald Ash Borer’s destructive presence are dire.

What can be done to stop these nuisances? Currently, there is no known practical remedy to halt their progress, and no North American ash species has proven to be immune. Biological treatments are now under investigation, and field trials have started.

PREVENTING THE SPREAD OF EMERALD ASH BORERS …

Use locally sourced firewood, and burn it in the same county in which it was purchased. Firewood is a significant transportation mechanism for the Emerald Ash Borer. Don’t move firewood. Beetle larvae can survive if they are hidden in the bark of firewood. Remember: buy local, burn local.

Inspect your trees. If you see any sign or symptom of an infestation, contact your State agriculture agency.

Chemically treat only high-value ash trees located within 15 miles of a known infestation. Declining trees should be considered for removal.

Know State and Federal regulations. Make sure that you understand regulations that govern your state and those you may visit.

Report suspected Emerald Ash Borer infestations to your state Department of Agriculture.

Talk to friends, neighbors and colleagues about the Emerald Ash Borer and educate them about what they should be aware of on their trees.

Ask questions. If you receive ash nursery stock or firewood, know its point of origin and your supplier, as Emerald Ash Borer larvae could be hiding under the bark.

Know the quarantines in your area.

FOR MORE INFORMATION …

Emerald Ash Borer Profile from U.S. Department of Agriculture

Emerald Ash Borer Information Network

Article by
Marshal Braman, Environmental Protection Specialist, 88th Regional Support Command

Photo by
James Zablotny, PhD/USDA