TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. -- For the past two decades, Tobyhanna Army Depot has pledged to preserve and enhance the environment it calls home. In that time, depot personnel have sought out the best practices from local, regional and national industry partners and the wisdom gained from these think tanks has paved the way for numerous successful environmental initiatives.

In November 1997, Mike Parrent, a chemist in the depot's Environmental Branch, was part of a group of people from the Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Professionals (PAEP) who spearhead the Pollution Prevention and Energy Efficiency (P2E2) Roundtable, the modicum through which green ideas could be shared, cultivated and passed on. Since that time, Parrent has served as a steering committee member, P2E2 section chief and has chaired numerous annual conference committees.

Throughout the 20-year history of the roundtable, visits to other facilities and installations have made their mark at the depot with several initiatives adopting permanent residence here.

In August 1998, a P2E2 meeting at Philips Lighting resulted in Tobyhanna's first energy savings performance contract in 2000, which saw fluorescent bulbs swapped out. The depot is currently on its second energy savings performance contract.

Five years later, the roundtable convened at PPL Plaza in Allentown and toured the facility's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building and vegetative roofing. Fast-forward three years and Tobyhanna had its first green roof on a wing of Building 11. Since then, three additional wings were "greened" and a 66,000 square-foot green roof was installed atop the Tactical End Item Repair Facility.

A 2006 visit to another facility in Allentown, ATAS International Inc., introduced solar walls to Tobyhanna's environmental team, an idea that was recently brought to life at the depot with the installation of solar walls along 13 exterior faces of seven buildings around the installation.

The project is projected to save 20,000 MMBTUs annually, equal to the amount of carbon dioxide emissions from the consumption of 490,729 gallons of gas. MMBTU, or MBTU, stands for one million British Thermal Units (BTU). A BTU is a measure of the energy content in fuel, and is used in the power, steam generation, heating and air conditioning industries.

Parrent said the depot's green programs have many significant benefits, ranging from a positive environmental impact to increased efficiency.

"Our recycling program helps reuse more than 50 percent of the installation's solid waste, including metals, ink toner cartridges, batteries, and much more, and our water conservation project is on track to meet its goal two years ahead of its target," he said. "Our solar walls help with heat recovery, LED lighting reduces electricity demand and photovoltaic panels produce free energy."

Several guest speakers at the roundtable's anniversary meeting presented the latest in sustainability and green tech. Briefers included Timothy Tuttle, environmental engineer at the Scranton Army Ammunition Plant; Stephen Cannizzaro, director of environmental health and safety for General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems; and Tony Bandiero, executive director of the Eastern Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Transportation. A tour of Tobyhanna's mission areas that are home to various environmental projects wrapped up the day.

Janet Warnick, manager of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, presented an award to Parrent at the conclusion of the event, recognizing him for his contributions to the roundtable through the years. Environmental Branch Chief Paula Mesaris said Parrent is vital to the depot's green success.

"Mike is instrumental in fostering awareness and cooperation across the depot in advancing Tobyhanna's environmental goals," she said.

According to Parrent, Tobyhanna's green thumb will continue to grow into the future. Sustainability projects including wood waste recycling, the installation of a biofuel boiler to replace oil heat and the growth of switchgrass for soil conservation will all add to the depot's long list of green initiatives.

Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna's Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C4ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.

Tobyhanna's unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum logistics support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, post production software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our Joint Warfighters.

About 3,200 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the command's mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.