FORT RUCKER, Ala. (June 24, 2016) -- With recent initiatives on Fort Rucker focusing on conservation and efficiency, such as the opening of the solar array, it's no surprise that organizations on the installation are being recognized for their efforts in sustainability and environmental conservation.

The Aviation Center Logistics Command was presented the U.S. Army Material Command Environmental Sustainability Team Award recently for its work in developing processes that focus on reducing Aviation maintenance energy use, water use and waste footprint through equipment acquisition and disposal, according to Genie Jones, ACLC environmental group leader.

"Through contract modifications, property management and procedure changes, ACLC's team is enhancing the community's environmental quality, reducing mission's environmental footprint, and reducing costs," she said of the team comprised of ACLC and Army Fleet Support environmental, logistics and property subject-matter experts.

Some of the team's accomplishments include new procedures for purchasing equipment that supports energy and water conservation, and, in doing so, the team was able to reduce fossil fuel use, which saved more than $57,000 in energy costs in 2014 alone.

Additionally, Jones said the development of innovative techniques, which include the review of over 40,000 line items and the first contract-wide equipment energy and water consumption baseline of over 9,000 items contributed to the reduction of water and energy consumption.

One example of that reduction comes with something as simple as the water nozzles used to wash aircraft on many of the flightlines, said Jones.

Since switching to new, efficient nozzles, the team has shown a 95-percent decrease in water consumption since using the new spray nozzles. In 2014, they went from using up to 3.3 million gallons of water per year to 170,000 gallons of water per year, which also translates from 450 gallons of water per aircraft, to using only 40 gallons of water per aircraft, in the first year it was implemented. In the following year, AFS reported an additional 30 percent decrease in water consumption per year.

"This initiative forced consideration of operating and support costs, which typically can be 80 percent of lifecycle costs, up front and early in the acquisition process, to include energy and water consumption, and environmental disposal costs," said the environmental group leader. "This conservation program improved ACLC's mission of quality Aviation maintenance and logistics support to the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence by promoting more efficient use of resources through environmental compliance justification, feasibility studies to include operational savings, energy and water use deltas, disposal costs and review of potential impacts to personal safety and health."

ACLC's largest initiative was the review and replacement of equipment and furniture, more than 166,000 pounds of which was recycled through several local businesses, which resulted in a direct cost avoidance of more than $23,000 in transportation and disposal costs, Jones said.

The equipment that was recycled, ranging from aircraft maintenance equipment to office furniture, was all replaced with more efficient, cost-effective equipment and furniture that will, over time, save money and, in some cases, pay for themselves through the savings, she added.

With the addition of the new, energy-efficient equipment, energy consumption has been reduced, saving about $177,000 a year on electricity in some instances, said Stacey Bedsole, AFS facility manager.

Some of that equipment includes new ovens that are used to heat treat aircraft parts, which were also reduced from four to three, and replaced with new, energy-efficient models.

"The ovens are able to ramp up faster and get the job done quicker," he said. "Also, the previous ovens had to stay on all the time in order to make sure they were at the proper temperature when they needed to be used. The new ovens can be turned off and heated up when needed, saving substantially in energy costs."

Also, new hydraulic chillers were installed that reduce waste by recirculating water that is used to cool the equipment rather than have the water pumped in and pumped back into the sewer system, which ends up conserving about 400,000 gallons of water annually per chiller, said Bedsole.

The conservations effort was no small feat, said Jones, adding that this type of effort couldn't be accomplished by any one person, which is why the recognition of all of the ACLC team members' efforts was one they were happy to receive.