A Greener more Efficient Army

The U.S. Army recognizes October as Energy Awareness Month. Check out  what the Army is doing to become more efficient in a message from the Honorable Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment

In 2007, Thomas Friedman wrote about the power of green. He suggested, “When the Army goes green, the country could really go green.”  Army green is not just a color anymore.  The Army continues to lead the way by greening installations, increasing energy security and sustainability, day by day.

The Army’s mission is driven by requirements. However, those requirements are driven by the recognition that a more

The Army signed a memorandum of agreement for an enhanced-use lease to begin development of a 500-megawatt solar power facility at Fort Irwin, Calif.

sustainable Army saves Soldiers lives and increases mission effectiveness.  A sustainable Army also reduces energy and water burden on the U.S. communities where installations are located.

We recognize that addressing energy security and sustainability is operationally necessary, financial prudent, and critical to our mission. Through sustainability the Army of the future has the same access and choice of resources as the Army of today.  As such, we have focused our energy management efforts in three areas, Soldier Power, Basing Power and Vehicle Power.

The Army’s Soldier Power solutions are working to reduce a Soldier’s carried load.  As an example, a Soldier on a three-day patrol must carry seven different types of batteries weighing a total of 15 pounds.  Soldiers on the battlefield are testing advanced suites of portable Soldier power capabilities, which can reduce the volume and weight of their load, through the Expeditionary Soldier Power Suite. This suite is comprised of rechargeable power capabilities such as solar blankets and portable fuel cells. These can sustain a Platoon, Squad and individual Soldiers in the most disadvantaged operating environment.

Providing fuel and water to the Soldiers in combat comprises 70-80 percent of the resupply weight for logistical convoys. When the military is receiving one casualty for every 46 ground resupply convoys in Afghanistan, increased efficiency, demand management and diversifying supply will reduce injuries, save lives and save money. Because of this, the Army is expediting deployment of energy and water efficiency solutions to Army bases.   Smart micro-grids link generators together to optimize operation and reduce the amount of fuel that is needed to provide them power. Smart micro-grids provide an integrated approach to supporting Soldiers with reliable energy and improve the generation and distribution of power. These technologies provide power more efficiently to operate contingency bases and the daily activities on these bases.  Shower water re-use systems – with a pre-filter, micro filters, reverse osmosis, and carbon filtration – re-circulate water for use in showers.  This reduces the volume of water Soldiers or contractors must transport or pump from groundwater.

At home, our permanent Army installations face risks whether from terrorist’s attacks, or threats resulting from natural disasters.  Just in the last few months alone our installations have faced impacts to mission from a tsunami in Japan, tornados in the South, droughts in the West and fires such as the ones in Texas. To help mitigate these threats on Army installations, and achieve energy security and sustainability, the Army is pursuing a Net Zero Energy, Water, and Waste approach.

Last April, we identified six pilot installations each for energy, water, and waste and two integrated installations striving towards Net Zero by 2020.  These installations are becoming centers of environmental and energy excellence by showcasing best management practices and demonstrating effective resource management.  The intent of this pilot effort is to work closely with a few so that those lessons learned can be shared with all.

The Base Camp System Integration Laboratory, or SIL, will enable the Army and the joint services to evaluate future technologies in a live Soldier environment, providing solutions to reduce the energy demand and logistical burden on base camps in Afghanistan. Photo Credit: PM Force Sustainment Systems, PEO CSCSS

In August, we furthered green efforts as Secretary of the Army John McHugh announced the establishment of the Energy Initiatives (EI) Task Force to serve as the central managing office for large-scale Army renewable energy projects. The EI Task Force will foster strategic, technical, and financial investment in the Army’s Renewable Energy Program.  They will work within the Army to streamline existing acquisition processes and leverage private sector investment for the execution of cost effective, large-scale renewable energy projects (over 10 MW each) on Army installations.  This will enable the Army to obtain energy that is more secure, more sustainable, and more affordable by assuring diversity of sources.  The Army’s goal is to have 25 percent of the Army’s installation energy needs produced by renewable energy by 2025.

Currently, over 40 percent of the vehicles in the Army fleet are clean and green.  The Army is working to convert its entire fleet to more efficient vehicles.  We plan to reach a 50 percent reduction in petroleum usage in non-tactical vehicles by 2015. Hybrid vehicles are 40 percent more efficient than conventional vehicles.  When you take into consideration that the Army manages more than 80-thousand vehicles daily, a 40 percent reduction in cost is a significant savings. With one-third of the non-tactical vehicles already hybrid, the Army is the third largest employer of hybrid electric technology in Federal Government, and the largest user in the Department of Defense.

We are exploring the use of bio and synthetic fuels that meet the military’s fuel specification for JP-8 fuel.  JP-8 is the single fuel used in both ground and aviation platforms.  At an overseas contingency base, it is also used to fuel electric generators.  At one Army base we are recycling fuel oil and used canola oil from dining facility fryers with JP8 to run base generators.  The strategy saved over 100,000 gallons of JP8 in 2010.

Our end-state is greater operational effectiveness, measured in terms of endurance, agility, flexibility, resilience and force protection.  We will enable that through energy diversification, increased resource efficiency and demand reduction, leading to an affordable, sustainable force. The outcome is fewer Soldier casualties and reduced Army budgets.

What are you doing to make the Army, a more Greener, Efficient Army?