By USAEC Public AffairsMarch 23, 2016
Tobyhanna Army Depot credits use of a focused environmental review program to ensure environmental sustainability is integrated into future construction and renovation projects for their recent win in the Secretary of the Army's environmental awards program's Sustainability -- Industrial Installation category.
The environmental staff at the depot understand that successful environmental programs are developed over time through a shared vision and continuous improvement. Individual program managers within the depot's environmental branch develop aggressive program goals and meet weekly to ensure development of a team approach with cross-program strategies to meet those goals.
A cross-functional master planning design team allows the depot to apply best management practices from multiple disciplines to all phases of project development. The environmental staff evaluates each proposed project for 35 functional areas, in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act.
Suggestions for environmental improvements include installation of hybrid daylight/LED lighting systems, sustainable flooring surfaces, increased-efficiency natural gas heating systems and noise isolating panels.
Updating of the wastewater treatment plant to add a water reclamation system is one example of the types of projects resulting in Tobyhanna's recognition. It enabled the depot to reduce potable water usage by 90 percent, replacing it with treated/ disinfected water. Future enhancements are expected to increase the quality of the water to enable reuse in lawn watering and construction activities. Reducing potable water use also means reducing the chemicals needed to treat that water, saving dollars and decreasing hazardous material use.
The depot's energy conservation measures include installing heat recovery coils for a new paint booth, replacing steam coils with direct gas-fired duct burners, installing more efficient fans and including direct expansion cooling to help maintain the indoor temperature in material storage. Energy initiatives like these save 7.5 percent of the depot's total energy usage for an annual saving of more than $350,000.
Tobyhanna also sustains the largest mass transit program of all federal government facilities outside of Washington, D.C. During the award period, the percentage of rider participation increased by 8 percent, equating to a reduction of more than 340 tons of carbon monoxide, 13,000 tons of total greenhouse gas emissions, and a fuel savings of approximately 1.3 million gallons, annually.
Energy savings mean decreased operating costs; a boon for weapon systems program managers. These energy conservation projects also improve conditions for those working on the depot.
In addition, the installation is increasing energy efficiency, which also reduces maintenance costs, by replacing all exterior lighting with LED lighting. The new lights eliminated the waste stream of sodium vapor lights and reduced the fluorescent bulb universal waste stream by 2,250 pounds, saving $6,300 annually.
Another key sustainability effort at Tobyhanna is its robust recycling program. The depot recycled 1.5 million pounds in FY 2014 and 2.1 million pounds in 2015, resulting in sales of more than $700 thousand and cost avoidance of more than $195,000. This money is used to manage the program, invest in environmental- and safety-related projects and support Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs that provide quality of life improvements for Soldiers, Families and Civilians.
Tobyhanna Army Depot continues to reduce the impact of its operations on the environment by reducing waste and air emissions, conserving water and energy, and recycling up to 80 percent of its solid waste stream. Region III of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized the depot for these efforts, as well as the conversion from a central coal-fired heat plant to natural gas, installation of more than 100,000 square feet of vegetative roof, and other sustainability efforts.
Tobyhanna Army Depot will represent the Army at the Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards competition later this year.