The 'Greening' of Army housing
January 10, 2012
PENTAGON, Washington DC -- With the campaign slogan "Go Green, Be Green, Live ARMY Green," the Army aims to be a leader in energy awareness, conservation and cutting edge technologies.
Across 44 installations, with more than 80,000 homes, the Army's private sector associates provide on-post housing as part of the Residential Communities Initiative (RCI) for almost one third of all accompanied Soldiers and Soldier Families.
Together the privatized associates and the Army are raising awareness with Soldiers and Families of the importance of conserving energy.
Paul Cramer, acting deputy assistant secretary for Installations Housing and Partnerships said, "Within the next year it is estimated that over 70 percent of all RCI homes will be individuality metered and incorporated into the RCI Energy Conservation Program.
The program makes Soldiers and Families aware of the energy they use each month, which has lead to a 10-20 percent decrease in energy consumption. This has resulted in lowering operating costs across the RCI housing portfolio."
The Army's RCI Energy Conservation Program not only includes RCI families and private partner project companies, but also other private business associates such as billing companies, installation leadership, senior Army leadership, Department of Energy and Congress.
The Army has implemented new home design standards that are capable of achieving a minimum "Silver" rating, under the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Homes (LEED-H) system.
In Tacoma, Washington, Joint Base Lewis McChord has joined with Washington State University to install and test cutting edge energy saving products. Todd Vasko, project manager for the privatized housing project said, "With over 1,000 homes in the program, we provide WSU with a great location to test new energy products and measure potential energy savings."
Hawaii has the largest housing privatization project in the Department of Defense, and due to the island's location it has some of the highest utility costs.
The Army has several sustainability initiatives to reduce the amount of energy consumed and to "green" the energy that is used. Programs include the solar energy power, solar water systems, retention of shade trees and the recycling of old concrete slabs for new road. Solar power alone satisfies 30 percent of household energy use and when combined these energy savings measures could save 15,500 barrels of oil per year, significantly reducing Hawaii's power plant carbon dioxide emissions.
Fort Drum, New York, has the largest 'Energy Star' rated community and Fort Hood, Texas has the largest number of LEED certified homes (232) in the Army portfolio.
Fort Knox, Kentucky, is home to the nation's largest Geothermal housing community, and Fort Campbell has the first Net Zero home on a military installation.
'Green' building has become a very technical industry with new products coming online almost daily. Examples of compliance are smart framing (24 inches on center), heat reflecting triple pane windows, energy smart appliances, increased insulation, tank-less water heaters, vapor and air barriers, use of low volatile organic compound products and highly efficient HVAC equipment.
The Army is marching on the front line of energy technology and leading the quest to reduce the carbon footprint of large scale single family home development. The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Installations, Energy and Environment leads that battle rhythm.