The US army has invested $208.8 million in energy-saving initiatives over the last year, according to an Army News Service report.
At the end of 2011, President Obama directed federal agencies to make a total of at least $2 billion worth of energy-efficiency upgrades over the next two years - at no up-front cost to the taxpayer. Now, one year later, the army has invested 54% of its $384-million goal in energy-saving initiatives, with enough projects in the pipeline to meet its objective a year from now.
So far, the army has awarded 17 Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) task orders, which are conducted by private contractors and include energy-efficiency improvements such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting. It has also awarded nine Utility Energy Services Contract (UESC) task orders in the last year, which are conducted by utility companies and include energy and water projects.
"The president's challenge could not have come at a better time”, said Richard Kidd, deputy assistant secretary of the army for Energy & Sustainability. “The army recognizes that we must make the best use of taxpayer dollars and the entire installation management community has responded creatively using [ESPCs] to meet current and future energy needs."
How is the army reducing its carbon footprint?
Among many other environmental initiatives, the army is reducing its environmental impact by:
Cutting back on gas-guzzling vehicles
In the past few years, the army has significantly reduced its number of fuel-hungry vehicles and non-tactical (non-combat) vehicles.
It has invested in smaller, more efficient vehicles, including high-mileage gas or diesel, hybrid and electric
The army is investing in alternative fuels - the amount of these fuels being used is 1,156% higher than in 2005.
Investing in renewables
In the summer, the US Departments of Defence and the Interior signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to explore the potential for wind, solar and geothermal energy on millions of acres of land at military facilities.
Installations of renewable power have already been taking place in military sites. For example, in the autumn 780 solar panels were installed on the roof of the tennis center and the West Point military academy, and a a wind turbine was installed to produce power at a lake in Kansas.
Renewable power is also being used for soldiers on missions. In Afghanistan, 10 solar generators are now providing Special Forces Soldiers in distant outposts the energy they need to accomplish their mission.