FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. (Jan. 18, 2013) -- Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, visited Fort Huachuca, Ariz., Jan. 15, to gather information regarding the SunZia power lines that will span across Fort Huachuca, Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

During her visit, Hammack received an overview of some of the testing missions that take place on the installation. While here, she also visited Colonel Smith Middle School, Arizona's first net-zero school.

"A couple of things that were interesting were some of the testing missions here," Hammack said. "We spent some time talking about the kind of frequencies generated by wind turbines and [the SunZia] power lines. Yesterday afternoon, we heard some very interesting research that is going on or results that are a little bit surprising, and it just created more questions. It is fascinating when you see the mission side and the installation side come together on some of these issues."

Hammack also has experience in the evaluation of energy conservation projects, including lighting efficiency, sustainable design, solar energy and building operation. Being that Fort Huachuca is home to Colonel Smith Middle School, the first net-zero energy school to open in Arizona, she requested a tour of the facility.

"The net-zero concept is how to better use our resources to ensure that the Army of the future has the same access to resources as the Army of today," Hammack explained. "It's learning, somewhat similar to this school, what are the best practices and how can we institutionalize them across the Army. Net-zero is net-zero energy, net-zero water and net-zero waste. Net-zero energy looks at a building, facility or footprint that consumes as much energy as it is able to generate."

Ronda Frueauff, Ph.D., Fort Huachuca Accommodation School superintendent, guided Hammack on a tour of the school, pointing out the net-zero energy features throughout. According to the website, www.schoolconstructionews.com, the school achieved net-zero energy through methods including water harvesting, green products, a dashboard for students to monitor energy conservation, sensor-controlled lighting, watching plug loads and producing energy through solar panels and wind turbines, as well as a cost-effective layered daylight program. Classrooms are also equipped with iPad2s that visually monitor energy use throughout the school.

Hammack seemed extremely pleased with her tour of the school.

"It's absolutely amazing," she said. "It is something that I do not think that we have an equal to within the Army, much less within this nation. I have never seen anything like it. I don't work on an iPad every day, but we work on computers every day, for everything. It is amazing the abilities that technology gives us and to see it taught and students learning and adapting to it, they will become accustomed to it.

"The teachers are teaching in a way that is leveraging and teaching technology at the same time, so that means that not only does a math teacher need to understand math, but they need to understand the technology delivery at the same time and that takes a unique teaching talent," she continued.

Hammack said that having a school that focuses on what's good for the environment, having the right kind of teachers to teach there and having the support of the principal for the net-zero aspect is amazing.

Page last updated Fri January 18th, 2013 at 00:00