What happens when some of the U.S. Army Reserve's brightest minds converge? A lot of bright ideas are born. And, those bright ideas often go on to become innovative energy initiatives that conserve resources for the Department of Defense and support the military mission.

Directors of Public Works, Energy Managers, Resource Efficiency Managers and members of the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate (ARIMD) Energy Team descended on Providence, Rhode Island in August for the annual Federal government's Energy Exchange.

Hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Energy Exchange is an educational forum that provides opportunities for energy professionals to learn more about energy management and sustainability in the Federal sector and to establish contacts with others in the field.

To commence the activities, ARIMD hosted the Army Reserve Energy Manager Training Workshop on Monday, August 8. At the event, Army Reserve representatives presented reports on Comprehensive Energy and Water Evaluations, assessments on metering and utility monitoring and briefs on a variety of energy projects. Ms. Judith Hudson, Chief of the Energy and Facility Policy Division at the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management, and Ms. Kristine Kingery, Program Director at the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Energy and Sustainability, addressed the participants and discussed the importance of energy security and sustainability initiatives to the Army Reserve's mission.

Throughout the following days, attendees enjoyed a trade show and sessions on topics such as integrated energy, sustainability planning, renewable energy, fleet management and project financing.

The Secretary of the Army Energy and Water Management Awards ceremony was held on Thursday, August 11. The 63rd Regional Support Command accepted honors for Energy Efficiency and Energy Management, Small Group.

On Friday, Army Energy Managers gathered for the Department of Army Energy Manager Training Workshop to close the week.

Several Army Reserve delegates were among the presenters.

Mr. Anibal Negron, Chief of the Environmental Division at the Directorate of Public Works at Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, shared his expertise on the use of Energy Savings Performance Contracts and the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program to fund numerous energy conservation measures on the Installation. He also offered a progress report on Fort Buchanan's efforts to achieve Net Zero energy, or to produce as much energy as the Installation consumes.

Mr. Greg Vallery, Director of Public Works at Fort Hunter Liggett, California, discussed his Installation's renewable energy projects and Net Zero initiatives.

Mr. Paul Wirt and Ms. Robin Robinson of ARIMD presented on the Utility Rates Analysis Study, which will determine the utility rate structures for all Army Reserve sites and identify opportunities to reduce expenditures.

"The Energy Exchange is an outstanding annual forum for Energy Managers across the country to participate on panels, share lessons learned and learn about the latest technologies," said Wirt, Chief of Sustainability Programs at ARIMD. Wirt went on to emphasize the positive impacts that both the Department of the Army and the Army Reserve have had as a result of their sessions before and after the Energy Exchange. "We can really build a strong team when Army and Army Reserve energy and water professionals are able to meet face-to-face and discuss mutual challenges and opportunities to reduce our consumption and utility costs and to increase our energy resilience."

For more information about Army Reserve sustainability initiatives, visit usar.army.mil or usarsustainability.com. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/USARSustainability or follow us on Twitter @USARGoGreen.