By Kristina Curley (U.S. Army Environmental Command)April 18, 2013
Focusing squarely on the triple bottom line of sustainability - mission, community and the environment, recently gained the U.S. Army Garrison (USAG) Vicenza recognition as the Fiscal Year 2012 winner of the Secretary of the Army Environmental Award for Environmental Quality - Overseas.
USAG Vicenza's primary mission is providing base support operations and installation management services for the 11,000 soldiers, families, and civilian employees currently stationed there. The garrison manages various facilities consisting of 540 buildings on 460 acres scattered over six separate locations in and around Vicenza, Italy.
"In spite of the great strain rapid growth has placed on resources, we are proud to continue providing exceptional service to our 32 tenant and unit commands, as well as the Vicenza community at large," said Jim Lessard, Department of Public Works Environmental Chief. "Vicenza is accomplishing this, while maintaining the highest environmental standards and sponsoring new initiatives to make environmental programs even more effective."
According to Lessard, the garrison recently implemented an Installation Sustainability Plan that maintains a high level of service while addressing the installation's most important environmental aspects. This is in addition to sponsoring new initiatives to make existing environmental programs even more effective.
Sustainability is ingrained into Vicenza's daily operations. Recycling is a legal requirement in Italy, and the installation's program recycles all the usual items along with organic waste, toner cartridges, batteries, and expired medicine.
The garrison also operates an Eco-Center that accepts all recyclables and includes additional containers for scrap metal. Personnel at the Eco-Center serve as the liaison between the U.S. Army and host nation authorities assuring the recycling program meets host nation requirements and enabling efficient execution of the recycling program.
"Due to constant community efforts, the garrison tripled the amount of urban waste recycled from 15 to 52 percent in less than 10 years," Lessard said. "This puts us on track with the increasingly stringent host nation recycling requirements."
USAG Vicenza also is developing programs to implement environmentally preferable technologies by identify areas where innovative technologies, such as dehydrating compostable waste to produce a reusable by-product, shop towel recycling and ultrasonic parts cleaning to elminate solvent use, that can promote more efficient and sustainable resource utilization.
"The garrison also has an aggressive energy management program that continues to pursue projects to achieve our 'Net-Zero' goal," said Greg Vallery DPW Engineering Chief. "Our photovoltaic projects will produce 1.5MW of electricity each day for numerous buildings, and the installation of a high efficiency centralized chiller uses low/no cost steam and hot water to make chilled water."
Vicenza developed a "Green Council" to provide Executive-Level leadership and guidance to garrison units, tenants and organizations to achieve the federally-mandated environmental, energy, and economic requirements of Executive Order (EO) 13514. The cross functional team concept ensures the right people are at the table making decision to meet the EO 13514 requirements and ensuring they align with local requirements for compliance. The Green Council concept and Pollution Prevention technology initiatives have been shared with other Army Garrisons, and other Federal Agencies can also benefit from these initiatives.
"We also take pride in integrating innovation and sustainability into building/facility construction and rehabilitation," said Kambiz Razzaghi DPW Director. "We've integrated 'Smart Growth' Principles into installation Master Planning and U.S. Green Building Council design principles and technologies into new facility construction and renovation."
New building construction uses local or regional recycled and recycleable materials and employes enhanced construction waste management to reuse or recycle construction and demolition waste. Technical features in the new building include occupancy sensors; window contact sensors; controlled cooling and heating systems; low-flow plumbing; low emitting and zero CFC-based refrigerants, and energy monitoring and control systems to limit excessive utility consumption.
The 151-acre, $400 million Dal Molin Multiple Facilities Complex being built to house four battalions and their brigade headquarters will set a new standard for sustainable base development, achieving, at a minimum, a LEED Silver certification under the LEED Rating System for New Construction.
In addition to applying sustainability principles, USAG Vicenza plays an active role in educating and assisting the community on environmental issues. The Eco-Center serves as an educational tool, coordinating and scheduling training classes where school-aged children and the USAG Vicenza community can learn about the procedures and importance of recycling and waste minimization. Eco-Center personnel also provide assistance to tenant facilities by assessing their operations and making recommendations for compliance with host nation environmental laws and requirements. The center also provides educational material for the local media to elevate public awareness regarding recycling and the various programs and services available through the DPW Environmental Division.
"USAG Vicenza attaches a great value on information, education and awareness as a way to stress the importance of good environmental stewardship," Lessard said. "We host outreach activities for Earth Day, National Pollution Prevention and Energy Awareness Month to spread awareness and share knowledge."
USAG Vincenza's robust sustainability program helps not only the garrison, but tenants and the community, evaluate current environmental practices and operations to find opportunities to reduce waste, save Army dollars and improve work process performance. These types of efforts keep USAG Vicenza well positioned to manage the increased demand on energy, water and raw materials resulting from expansion.