Sustainability impacts post's future
People take part in the Fort Rucker Directorate of Public Works Environmental and Natural Resources Division Zero Waste event during last year's Earth Day observance.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (April 19, 2012) -- Simple changes in the daily lives of people on Fort Rucker can make a huge impact on the future of the installation and what it can provide for generations to come.

Sustainability is the key to a future where resources, including everything from natural resources to workforce, infrastructure, funds, information, energy and systems, "are readily available so that we have them as needed to best support the current and future mission requirements of Fort Rucker," said Cynthia Ranchino, lead plans specialist for the plans, analysis and integration office.

Everyone can make changes to incorporate sustainability principles into their day-to-day lives, she added.

"Simple changes such as turning off the water while brushing your teeth, walking or biking instead of driving, not idling in a vehicle, and recycling and repurposing as much as possible can all add up to big changes," she said, adding that if people must drive on the installation, they should do their best to carpool or ride share.

"If we consider how we can reduce, reuse, repurpose or recycle our resources, it will help the installation reach its goals to reduce energy [use], water consumption, air emissions and the amount of waste going to landfills," said Ranchino.

People working in offices on the installation should also use the double-sided print feature whenever they can to save on paper use, she added.

Darrell Hager, environmental protection specialist for DPW, suggests that people buy earth-friendly products, and use reusable water bottles and shopping bags as a means to reduce waste and promote a healthy environment.

Turning off lights when leaving a room, and turning off TVs and other electronics while they are not in use is another example of little changes people can make in their daily lives to support sustainability, not just on the installation, but at home as well, said Tony King, resource efficiency manager for the Directorate of Public Works.

"Raise your thermostat in the summer and lower it in the winter," he said. "A 1-degree change will save [people] at least 2 percent and [a change of] 3 degrees can save as much as 20 percent in a really hot time of year."

King also recommends turning on a ceiling fan or box fan at a higher setting rather than running the air conditioning unit at a lower setting to save energy, adding that people should make sure to turn those appliances off when no one is in the room.

"If it isn't on, it doesn't use electricity," he said.

Helping out with sustainability doesn't only come from how people use the resources that they have, but also being mindful of what is being wasted, according to Candy Vaughan, branch chief of Utilities and Energy Management for DPW.

"People should report or repair running toilets immediately," she said. "One leaky toilet can waste over 43,000 gallons of water per month."

That comes out to about $75 a month or $900 dollars a year, Vaughan added.

Along with reporting running toilets, people should look out for dripping faucets and water leaks anywhere they might find them, she said.

Another way for people to save on water usage is by taking shorter showers or choosing to take showers over baths, said King. Taking a bath uses significantly more water than taking a shower.

"It's nice to stand in a hot shower for a while," he said, "but that can easily add up to a lot of energy use."

People can also install low-flow faucets and showerheads in their bathrooms to cut the use of water and energy, added Vaughan.

From an environmental standpoint, all employees on Fort Rucker must be familiar with E = pc2, which stands for environmental policy is to prevent pollution, comply with environmental laws and continually improve, said Melissa Lowlavar, Environmental Management Branch chief for DPW.

Employees should also be familiar with the significant aspects, which are air emissions, energy use and conservation, hazardous waste generation, natural resources alteration, noise generation, pollution prevention, solid waste generation, and spills to water and soil, said Ranchino, adding that every employee should know that his or her job can negatively impact any of the significant aspects and they take steps to mitigate those damages.

"It's important for people to learn about sustainability and [incorporate it into their daily lives] because we want to ensure that Fort Rucker is able to support the mission, community and environment -- not just today, but well into the future," she said.

Page last updated Wed April 18th, 2012 at 00:00