By Cathy Kropp (USAEC)April 7, 2014
For Fort Hood environmental excellence is a way of life, and it shows in the consistent recognition the installation receives for its environmental program. Having captured no less than eight different awards from the state of Texas, the Army and the Department of Defense during the last two fiscal years, Fort Hood can now add the FY 2013 Secretary of the Army Environmental Quality Award to its list of accomplishments.
"The dedication and service of Fort Hood's environmental programs team has been outstanding over the years. I am extremely proud of them and their all-encompassing efforts that have been recognized by this award," said Col. Matt Elledge, garrison commander.
The installation's holistic approach to environmental stewardship is one reason for its continued recognition. As stated in the latest nomination, "Fort Hood is committed to promoting environmental excellence, reducing its environmental impact, improving the efficiency of costs of processes, encouraging stakeholder involvement," all while taking care of 218,823 acres and supporting a population of just under 75,000.
"The Fort Hood community works together to integrate environmental excellence into daily operations," said Steve Burrow, chief of environmental programs. "Soldiers, civilians, contractors, and their families recognize that each of their actions has an impact on the environment."
The installation's environmental management system helps identify environmental vulnerabilities and opportunities for improvements in current processes. The EMS helps leaders establish goals and objectives and measure performance.
"NetZero 2020 has been a part of Fort Hood's operations for some time now. The team continues to find and develop newer and innovative ways to reduce the carbon footprint here and will continue to do so until we reach zero waste," Elledge said.
The installation?'s waste reduction efforts continuously exceed established objectives thanks to the full engagement and support of its military leadership, as well as strong relationships and partnerships throughout the community beyond its gates.
Meetings, training, and outreach efforts through community events help keep everyone involved, aware of the installation goals and informed of how they can help. Fort Hood boasts the Army's largest recycling facility, and is continually expanding its program. In fiscal 2013 the program began accepting all plastics, small household appliances, athletic shoes and holiday lights. Adding the in-house capability to process styrofoam enabled 4,000 pounds to be diverted from the landfill in just three months.
The installation also works with the towns outside its gates to help establish recycling programs and collection points within their communities. The installation partnered with a local scrap and metal company to hold two electronics and household appliance collections, netting more than 18,000 pounds of waste.
"The goal of our partnerships is to share ideas, techniques, and procedures that can help each other," Burrow said. "Working together with other communities helps to educate the region, get citizens involved and influence change for a greener future."
The installation is also continuing its water conservation and pollution prevention efforts. In addition, Fort Hood increased energy conservation this year by adding a solar farm that generated 1.2 million kWh in fiscal 2013, 25 percent of the overall load for 300 single-family homes.
With these continuing efforts, Fort Hood is likely to remain in the winner's circle for even more environmental awards.