PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. --"I always like to see so many smart people in one room working on ways to improve the quality of life for those who live, work and study on the Presidio."

So began Presidio of Monterey Garrison Commander Col. Paul W. Fellinger's welcoming remarks to the participants attending the Presidio of Monterey's three-day Installation Sustainability and Energy Conference held in Khalil Hall March 10-13.

The conference was organized and hosted by POM Directorate of Public Works Energy Manager Jay Tully.

Meeting at the three-day conference were representatives from POM DPW and other directorates, an engineer from the City of Monterey, faculty and staff from the California State University-Monterey Bay and Hartnell College, as well as other stake holders situated in and around the area.

Although the Presidio hosted the conference, it was chaired by Mark Gillem of the Urban Collaborative, an independent consulting and urban design firm based in Oregon.

Gillem is a primary instructor for introductory and advanced master planning courses for the Army, Navy and Air Force. He holds a doctorate in architecture and in his spare time teaches as an assistant professor in architecture and landscape architecture at the University of Oregon.

Urban Collaborative has a long history of completed military urban planning projects from real property master plans to small area development plans at more than 50 military installations worldwide.

Also on hand from the Urban Collaborative were Barry Gorden and Gabe Cross, subject matter experts who are well acquainted with the unique challenges of military environmental planning. Gorden and Cross were on hand to consult on specific aspects of the Presidio's planning and sustainability.

The main objective of the conference was to impart advanced principles of sustainable planning and develop the metrics in support of plans with a special focus on environmental sustainability in general, and a heavy emphasis on energy efficiency.

According to DOD, "sustainability" and "sustainable" mean to create and maintain conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony. Conference participants were challenged to balance the competing interests of accomplishing the Presidio's mission, environment stewardship and community needs in order to improve efficiencies and thereby create opportunities to save costs.

"Sustainability is not only about saving money. It's about making life easier for people, about creating better and more attractive communities in which to live," said Gillem "to reach optimal sustainability we use a model called "Net Zero."

"There are literally hundreds of executive orders, regulations and policies that have to be taken into account when putting together each aspect of an installations master plan for sustainability. Combine that with an installation's mission and purpose, geography and weather, it can seem overwhelming," said Gillem.

"It can be daunting just getting started. To help planners understand the big picture we use a lot of examples where challenges were overcome successfully in a variety of geographic locations."

"The planning process we teach is called the Net Zero model. The planning principals of the Net Zero model are the same, but the solutions discovered and applied locally to achieve the installation's goals may be different."

Over the course of the conference participants spent a portion of each day outside the conference room to get hands-on experience in compiling the data they needed to formulate their sustainability plans, then return to synthesize the data into a master plan, which they could then bring to bear on specific problems or bring down costs.

"In many cases it's important to reframe the problem … to find fresh ways to solve it," said Gillem during a group discussion on the morning of day two about parking on the Presidio. "For example, you could say that we don?'t have a parking problem on the installation so much as we have a walking problem.

"Once you start looking at it from that angle you begin to see options you may not have seen before," said Gillem.

"Although the emphasis of much of the conference is on energy, we look at environmental sustainability on the Presidio and [the former] Fort Ord across-the-board," said Tulley.

Gillem added, "We're also here to look at the best methods and practices to achieve the Presidio's six planning goals: mission flexibility, creating a walkable campus, promote efficient learning and living environments, leverage local partnerships, protect the natural environment, and preserve areas of historical significance. … It's an ambitious agenda."

Tulley nodded and responded, "We've made great strides in energy and water efficiency -- but without a long-term plan, it is tough to know where to focus our efforts."

He said that "The last thing I want to do is to spend a lot of energy efficiency money on a building that is going to be torn down in a few years. At the same time, the [military construction] process is so many years out, I need to stake out energy efficiency goals in the early planning phase which is many years before a building begins construction," said Tulley. "By knowing what the long-term campus plan is, we can get a handle on our Net Zero goals."


1. Mission flexibility: Develop a physical infrastructure that is capable of supporting mission readiness.

2. Create a walkable campus. Provide safe and comfortable street infrastructure to accommodate pedestrians and provide convenient, mixed use development with improved transit options.

3. Efficient leaning and living environments: Design facilities with sustainable materials that maximize natural ventilation and lighting, and can be adapted for a variety of needs and uses.

4. Community partnerships: Look beyond the fence line to support and create community collaboration, in both the public and private sectors, that will make the mission more cost effective.

5. Natural environments: Site selection for new development should respect the natural landscape and protect endangered species.

6. Historical significance: Site selection for new development should celebrate areas of historical significance and preserve archeological sites.

To learn more about the people and facilities of the Presidio of Monterey visit the official garrison website at

Page last updated Thu April 3rd, 2014 at 19:30