Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Carson chosen as a net-zero sustainability site

Posted By on Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 3:21 PM

Fort Carson will strive to become self-sustaining under a designation of "net zero" assigned by the Department of Defense. The only other overall net-zero base, meaning all services from power to water are included, is Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas.

A solar array like this one at Fort Carson will help the post reach its sustainability goals.
  • A solar array like this one at Fort Carson will help the post reach its sustainability goals.

Here's the post's release in full:

FORT CARSON, Colo. - The Honorable Katherine Hammack, assistant
secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment,
announced Tuesday at the Installation Management Symposium in San
Antonio, Texas that Fort Carson has been designated as an Army "Net
Zero" installation.

The categories considered for installation Net Zero status were energy,
water and waste.

"Because of the high quality and capability of the installations, we
couldn't narrow it down to five (installations) in each category and one
for overall. We ended up narrowing it down to six in each category and
two overall. The two overall installations are Fort Carson, Colo., and
Fort Bliss, Texas," said Hammack in a media roundtable held in
conjunction with the symposium.

Fort Carson self-nominated to become a Net Zero installation in March to
challenge its already robust energy, water and waste sustainability
goals and to advance the resource-conscious posture of today's Army.

"We've already got one of the largest solar arrays, which has been
reducing our energy consumption, particularly for housing," said Brig.
Gen. James H. Doty, acting senior commander, 4th Infantry Division and
Fort Carson, in the media roundtable. "We also have a qualified
recycling program that we will endeavor to start looking at using gray
water for reuse on the golf course and some other things. In the (combat
aviation brigade) buildings, we're going to try to make every one of
those buildings effectively Net Zero when they are constructed."

The Net Zero energy designation will require Fort Carson to produce as
much energy on site as it uses. This will require aggressive
conservation and efficiency efforts, including finding ways to capture
and use waste energy and pursuing more renewable energy initiatives.

"With this focus toward Net Zero it really steps up the challenges to
all of the Army garrisons and provides them with some blueprints of how
you can increase your energy conservation efforts and how you can
improve your energy use intensity," Hammack said.

According to Hammack, the Army Net Zero approach is comprised of five
interrelated steps: reduction, re-purpose, recycling and composting,
energy recovery and disposal. Each step is a link toward achieving the
net zero goal.

Operating as a net zero water installation, for example, means the
Mountain Post will conserve and re-purpose water. One way to achieve
this goal is to reuse gray water generated from showers and laundries
for irrigation of lawns and trees.

Additionally, Fort Carson will reduce, reuse and recover waste.
Converting appropriate waste materials into usable resources will
ultimately reduce and eliminate much of the need for costly landfill

"A lot of this is about modifying behaviors of the people that live on
the installation," said Col. Robert F. McLaughlin, garrison commander,
during the media roundtable. "We have a lot of energy with people who
want to do good things on the staff, both military and civilian. I think
by being a pilot it will help us motivate those living on Fort Carson to
do the little things that will help get at this."

At the front end of zero-waste efforts is sustainable procurement; the
installation will purchase more environmentally-preferable products with
high post-consumer recycled content and less packaging.

Eighteen Army posts were chosen to pursue the individual categories of
Net Zero energy, Net Zero water or Net Zero waste consumption. Fort
Carson and Fort Bliss, however, are the only two installations committed
to zeroing out all three consumptions by 2020.

"We're not in any way going to impair the combat effectiveness of any of
our units," Doty said. "Other than in their personal lives and the way
we do things like recycling, it's largely going to be transparent to the
Soldiers. They're going to be able to continue to train and deploy and
perform their mission."

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