According to the Global Energy Statistical Yearbook 2016, the United States is one of the leading consumers of energy in the world, and the Federal government is the leading consumer of energy in the United States. Furthermore, the Department of Defense is the leading consumer of energy in the Federal government, and the Army is the leading consumer of installation energy in the Department of Defense. In fact, the Army consumes 34 percent of the Department of Defense's installation energy at a cost of over $1.2 billion annually.
For the United States Army Reserve, energy touches almost every aspect of the mission. From the power required to operate its facilities to the fuel required to operate its vehicles, the Army Reserve's battle rhythm -- both at home and down range -- is dependent upon this crucial asset. Without energy, life would come to a halt.
However, threats to energy are constantly on the rise. The increasing worldwide demands for energy, the political and economic instabilities in oil-producing regions, the impacts of attacks against oil infrastructure and the effects of natural disasters all endanger invaluable resources.
Since the Army Reserve has a global "bootprint," energy crises across the world could create conflicts that have the potential to influence military objectives. Energy affects the welfare of our Soldiers, too. Fuel convoys are among the most dangerous duties for war fighters. The Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL) estimates that, historically, fuel and water transport missions are responsible for nearly ten percent of Army casualties in theater.
If a disruption of our vital energy supplies did occur, what would happen to the military, its infrastructure and its mission? Could the enterprise survive "off the grid?" The Army Reserve hopes that those questions will never need an answer. Nevertheless, the Army Reserve Energy Program is striving to ensure its energy security.
The International Energy Agency defines energy security as the "uninterrupted availability of energy at an affordable price." For the Army Reserve, energy security also means that its Installations, Regional Support Commands and Mission Support Command are ready to answer the nation's call -- even in the face of a local, national or global energy emergency.
To that end, the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate developed the Army Reserve Energy Security Implementation Strategy (ARESIS). The strategy creates a vision, mission and goals that, when accomplished, will ultimately achieve energy security for the enterprise.
The first ARESIS goal is to promote energy conservation, or the reduction of the Army Reserve's energy use, to ensure that resources are resilient and that the enterprise directs supplies to the most critical aspects of missions. Education and awareness initiatives create an informed, conservation-minded culture of Soldiers, Civilians and Families.
The second ARESIS goal is to increase energy efficiency through diverse projects. For instance, several sites throughout the Army Reserve have significantly reduced their energy consumption -- by as much as 85 percent -- by replacing fluorescent lights with light emitting diodes. Over 780 meters monitor energy consumption at 410 Army Reserve facilities, thus allowing Energy Managers and project coordinators to identify trends in energy use and areas where energy efficiency can be improved. With automated controls for applications such as thermostats and lights, buildings are operating at their peak efficiencies.
The third ARESIS goal is to leverage alternative and renewable energy through solar, wind and other sources of clean power. As of the third quarter of fiscal year 2016, 62 Army Reserve renewable energy projects were reporting in the Army Energy and Water Reporting System (AEWRS). Fort Buchanan and Fort Hunter Liggett -- both Reserve-funded Installations -- are top performers in this area, generating 45.3 percent and 43.4 percent of their energy from renewable technologies, respectively.
The fourth ARESIS goal is to build a sustainable energy program foundation. The Army Reserve is engaging senior leaders in the development and deployment of energy policies, and it is building valuable partnerships with agencies that support sustainability within and beyond the fence lines. The Army Reserve is also securing human and financial capital. Energy Managers, Resource Efficiency Managers and Building Energy Monitors act as the "eyes" and "ears" of the Army Reserve Energy Program in the field. Energy professionals across the enterprise implement energy projects with appropriated funds from the Federal government and funds from third-party programs such as Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPC), which pair Federal agencies with energy service companies. Agencies have used the ESPC contracting vehicle since 1998 to reduce energy costs and meet Executive Orders toward sustainability with no initial capital costs.
Moreover, the Army Reserve is pursuing Net Zero, or working to produce as much energy as it consumes over the course of one year, at as many of its sites as economically feasible. Ten Army Reserve Centers and three Army Reserve-funded Installations (Fort Hunter Liggett, Fort Buchanan and Parks Reserve Forces Training Area) are actively pursuing this ambitious target.
Because of all of these initiatives, the Army Reserve as a whole reduced its energy use intensity (energy consumption divided by gross square footage) by nine percent in only one year, from fiscal year 2014 to fiscal year 2015. According to AEWRS data, this reduction in energy use intensity saved just over $2 million, or the equivalent to the level of funding required for two and a half additional Army Reserve training exercises.
The Army Reserve has already achieved many successes, but it will not simply rest on its past victories. Instead, it will continue to lead the Department of the Army's charge toward energy-conscious communities and an energy-secure enterprise with a mission that endures -- now and for generations to come.
DO YOUR PART FOR ARMY RESERVE ENERGY SECURITY
• Extinguish lights in vacant rooms.
• Use natural light where possible.
• Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights or light emitting diodes.
• Power down computer monitors and peripherals at the end of each duty day.
• Unplug electronics that are not in use for extended periods.
• Use the "energy saver" modes on office copiers and printers.
• When purchasing electronics or appliances, choose Energy Star models.
• Set thermostats according to Unified Facilities Criteria 3 - 410 - 01: 68 degrees for occupied facilities during the heating season and 78 degrees for occupied facilities during the cooling season.
• Close doors and windows to conditioned spaces.
• Ensure that vents are unobstructed.
• Change your air filters regularly to ensure that your climate control system operates at its peak efficiency.
• Learn the Army Regulations regarding energy use in Federal facilities and adhere to them.
• Be observant. If you notice energy waste or opportunities for energy conservation, contact your facility manager or Building Energy Monitor.
• Talk to your Building Energy Monitor about practical or creative ways to save energy in your facility.
• Practice energy conservation at the office and at home.
For more information about the Army Reserve Energy Program, visit usar.army.mil or usarsustainability.com/energy. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/USARSustainability and follow us on Twitter @USARGoGreen.