Leveraging the Army's Culture of Discipline to Enhance Mission Effectiveness
January 23, 2013
WEST POINT (Jan. 23, 2013) -- To meet tomorrow's challenges; the U.S. Army must leverage the Army's culture of discipline to change Army Power and Energy behavior and refocus, making Energy a consideration in everything we do. Change begins with education.
An interdisciplinary team of professors at West Point have set out to promote a culture of energy accountability by integrating energy lessons into core classes taken by all cadets at the academy.
From chemistry, where cadets work to calculate which batteries can hold the most energy, to psychology, where cadets learn how to change organizational norms, cadets are becoming energy experts.
Outside of the classroom, cadets are also spearheading research to make the Army a more energy conscious organization.
Cadet projects range from reducing fuel needs in deployed locations to determining the best mix of energy sources to increase energy security. The latter topic is especially important for West Point as it works towards its Net Zero Energy target by 2020.
To reach this goal, the West Point installation will become more efficient and increase its renewable energy capacity.
One cadet initiative this fall was a competition between each of the cadet barracks to reduce electricity use. The contest ran from October to December and included all 4,500 cadets. Because of the size and age difference between the seven different barracks at West Point, energy use in each barracks was compared to usage from 2011 and the difference was calculated.
The results from the first week of the competition indicated that more than half of the barracks were using more electricity than they had in the previous year. However, a series of simple behavioral changes brought significant reductions in electricity use.
Some of the effective adjustments included turning off extra area lights at night, ensuring that cadets turned off all electronics when they went to class, and reducing the number of appliances in the barracks. These changes led to an almost immediate decrease in electricity use and soon each of the barracks was using less electricity than in the previous year.
By the final week the top barracks, named after General Robert E. Lee, had reduced usage by more than 10 percent. Across all of the barracks, the Corps of Cadets decreased electricity use nearly 7 percent.
The beginning of 2013 marks greater headway into conservation and recycling efforts at West Point as the cadets take on a new challenge in the "RecycleMania" competition.
More than 600 universities from across the nation compete in this contest which runs from February 3 through March 30.
Though there are different competition categories, the cadets are most interested in improving their rankings in the "Per Capita Classic", which measures pounds of recycled material per person.
In 2012, West Point finished in 10th place, out-recycling over 350 other colleges and universities.
Projects like Recycle-Mania are ideal for cadets at West Point because they encourage teamwork to make a significant difference and reduce the environmental impacts of the institution. Future progress at West Point will only come from a change in the mindset of cadets.
A "greener" attitude comes from education both in the classroom and the barracks concerning the importance of conservation.
Implementing change begins with participation in projects like RecycleMania.
West Point appears to be on the right track, the volume of recycling in September 2012, was twice the volume recycled in September 2011. Success like this paves the road to further progress as cadets strive for greater results in 2013.