German city honors U.S. Army's environmental efforts
January 12, 2010
WIESBADEN, Germany -- The U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden was recognized by the city of Wiesbaden for its energy conservation efforts during a ceremony at Wiesbaden City Hall recently.
Wiesbaden Lord Mayor Dr. Helmut MAfA1/4ller congratulated the roomful of representatives from the various German firms, agencies and the USAG Wiesbaden whose collective efforts in 2009 resulted in a savings of more than 17 million liters of water, 250,000 liters of fuel, 7 million kilowatt hours of electricity and a reduction of thousands of tons of refuse.
"You took responsibility for climate protection in the region and serve as an example for other businesses," said MAfA1/4ller.
"That's the idea of Oekoprofit," said Rita Thies, Wiesbaden's cultural, environmental and construction management chief, "to take good ideas and share them."
Thies was referring to the city's Oekoprofit initiative, launched in 2000, which invites representative of private industry, government agencies and local businesses (including the U.S. Army) to join together for workshops, brainstorming sessions and networking aimed at reducing costs, saving resources and protecting the environment.
"A large part of the savings incurred were made in better energy efficiency," said Thies, describing some of the ways participants reduced energy use and carbon dioxide emissions through use of alternative building materials, fuels, new lighting equipment, improved heating and air conditioning systems. Other energy-saving measures included increasing awareness about ways to save among employees and introducing more fuel-efficient vehicles, she said.
The USAG Wiesbaden was recognized for its yearlong involvement in the program and for accomplishing its 2009 goal of improving the overall energy and environmental management of the garrison's Fitness Center on Wiesbaden Army Airfield. The project saw changes to the automatic lighting control system, reducing air conditioner use and better heat management. It resulted in a reduction of nearly 400,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year and about 256 tons of Co2 emissions, according to Army engineers.
In 2008, the first year in which the Wiesbaden military community joined the Oekoprofit initiative, the garrison was honored for its improved energy efficiency and waste reduction at the garrison's Dining Facility, several airfield hangars and a motor pool. During the project year, a new recycling center was also build at the USAG Wiesbaden Army Airfield.
"We have been able to successfully implement environmental standards while conforming with Army policy," said Kader Guerba of the garrison's Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division, explaining that while the Oekoprofit intitiative serves as a way to spur cooperation between the host nation and U.S. military community, it is only one of many tools the garrison uses to promote energy, resource and environmental conservation. "What we have to do is get the entire garrison to embrace environmental efforts to improve sustainability."
Col. Jeffrey Dill, USAG Wiesbaden commander, underscored the garrison's focus on finding ways to better manage the environment and resources in accepting the city's Oekoprofit certification for 2009.
"The commander has stressed that reduced energy consumption is a significant aspect of the garrison's goals," said Guerba. "That means that we have to consider the entire problematic of energy consumption in building a comprehensive team to explore ways and new ideas to meet or exceed the Army's energy consumption goals. ... The garrison is actively participating in environmental compliance."
With transformation rapidly changing the face of the Wiesbaden military community, David Holt, the garrison's director of public works, said engineers are working closely with contractors and host nation energy providers to find ways to better construct and sustain heating and energy systems.
Dr. Ulrich Schneider, chief of renewable energy for the ESWE Versorgungs AG, which supplies energy and water for much of Wiesbaden including U.S. Army installations and is also a member of the Oekoprofit initiative, said his company is continuously researching ways to improve energy efficiency. That includes expanded use of solar and geothermal energy in future projects, he said. "Since the summer of 2008 we have really been making progress in those areas."
"We plan to continue participating in Oekoprofit in the future," said Alwin Garcia, chief of USAG Wiesbaden's Environmental Division. Among potential projects for 2010 are finding ways to help tenant units, which have extremely high energy consumption missions, to reduce those rates.
"We'll also continue taking action to support the Army's overall efforts to reduce energy consumption through the garrison's environmental management system by developing goals in a comprehensive manner," Garcia said. "We'll continue to look at ways to conserve our resources."