FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo., May 12, 2011 -- Last month, Fort Leonard Wood celebrated Earth Day by setting aside one day to educate our community about energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. Despite the weather, we had a great turnout and provided some really good information, and our efforts should not stop there.

At Fort Leonard Wood, we have been working hard to incorporate energy conservation and sustainable practices into our everyday lives. From profitable recycling to biodiesel fuel, our efforts are creating a culture that recognizes the importance and value of sustainability. Some of our efforts include:

-- Building more efficient facilities, such as the Prime Power School, which was designed to reduce energy use by 30 percent. This is very important considering roughly 42 percent of the total U.S. energy consumption in 2009 was used in non-residential buildings, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

To help lower energy usage, all new buildings on Fort Leonard Wood will feature low consumption appliances, such as faucets and shower heads; light fixtures that adjust the light’s brightness in a room to use only what is needed; and variable air flow heating and air conditioning systems, which use energy according to requirement.

-- Utilizing bio-fuels in our vehicles, which Fort Leonard Wood has been doing since 2011. And since then, we have used more than 1.1 million gallons of biodiesel fuel in our vehicles.

-- Incorporating an auto shut-down feature for our computer systems, which we started in September 2010. It is estimated that with the number of computers shut down nightly, we will save about $180,000 annually.

-- And recycling, which last year, we recycled more than 13,000 tons of materials returning nearly $900,000 to the Fort Leonard Wood community that we used to pay for the Mini-Golf Course, 4th of July fireworks, concerts and free movies at Abrams Theater.

Even with these measures in place we can do more. According to the EIA, in 2009, the total energy use per person in the U.S. was 308 million British thermal units, or Btus. To help put that number in perspective, one million Btu equals about 8 gallons of gasoline. And the average annual utility bill per person was about $1,300.

This leads me to ask, “Are you, as an individual, doing everything you can to conserve energy?”

Fort Leonard Wood’s Directorate of Public Works Environmental and Energy Branch offers three main energy saving tips we all can incorporate into our daily lives.

First, adjusting your thermostat just 1 degree for eight hours can save about one percent of energy usage, not to mention the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency recommend that we set our thermostats at 68 degrees in the winter and 78 in the summer.

Second, replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs can save approximately 75 percent of the consumption used for lighting a room. And last, unplugging appliances that have a stand-by power function could save approximately 7 percent of energy usage in homes each year.

There are also other ways you can help reduce energy consumption, such as carpooling, whether on personal time or going across post to a meeting, biking, walking or even taking the stairs, which could also have a positive effect on your health.

These simple, everyday practices are a good start, but sustainability is more than turning lights off when you leave every day -- it’s incorporating sustainable development and design and new initiatives that will ensure Fort Leonard Wood is postured for current and future missions.

Finally, smart energy saving initiatives and good everyday practices not only save dollars, it will save jobs and military force structure, as the Department of Defense budgets grow smaller.

Let’s all do our part!

Page last updated Thu May 12th, 2011 at 00:00