Fort Carson solar panel ribbon cutting
Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter Jr. and Maj. Gen. Mark A. Graham, commanding general, Division West, First Army and Fort Carson, prepare to cut the ribbon on the Fort Carson solar array Jan. 14, 2008.

FORT CARSON, Colo., April 21, 2011 -- Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, announced Tuesday at the Installation Management Symposium in San Antonio 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 disposal.

"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."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16