Greening the Military

by ‐ Tags: alternative energy

In a time when environmental consciousness is on everyone's minds, the military is being held accountable for their energy foot print; a challenge the military seems to be taking to heart. Energy efficiency has become a primary focus in the administration of military bases.

The Army's first step towards energy efficiency has been implementing net zero bases, which require that they create as much energy as they use by converting buildings to energy efficient facilities and installing solar energy panels, they have also made strides in reducing their energy consumption over all. One way in which the Army has reduced their energy use is by reducing the number of and changing the type of non-tactical fleet vehicles. In 2011 they reduced their non-tactical fleet by 8,000 vehicles. The Army has the largest non-tactical fleet out of all branches of the government and intends to reduce this portion of their vehicles by 20 to 40 percent over five years. Beyond the reduction in non-tactical fleet vehicles, they are looking at the types of vehicles used in these areas, converting to hybrids, high efficiency vehicles or alternative fuel vehicles where possible. The Army is also researching lighter armor and alternative fuel options for combat vehicles, while still trying to maintain the most safety for our troops.

The Navy has installed smart electricity meters in their barracks, which have tighter security requirements. This meter change has given the Navy an energy savings of 5 percent. In addition to tighter monitoring of their bases' electric usage, the Navy has installed 9 million square feet of installation in their temporary structures, cutting fuel consumption by 77,000 gallons of gasoline per day. The Navy has also taken steps to reduce energy consumption on their ships by converting to energy efficient materials and even hybrid engines, as well as installing stern flaps to decrease drag creating more energy efficient ships.

Energy efficiency is the responsibility of all of us. With the U.S. military's combined numbers it could be called the countries fourth largest city. That makes the U.S. military an important tool in moving forward to a more energy efficient America. The U.S. military seems to be listening and taking this task seriously with the steps it has implemented towards energy efficiency so far.