The United States Department of Energy honored the Army Reserve with two Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) awards this year.

The 9th Mission Support Command received a Program Award for their conservation efforts at Kaoru Moto Army Reserve Center in Maui, Hawaii.

Between fiscal years 2015 and 2016, the 9th Mission Support Command reduced energy consumption at Kaoru Moto Army Reserve Center by 36 percent. Improved lighting and climate control systems conserved energy, and a 99 kilowatt solar array provided renewable power. The center also reduced water consumption by 70 percent, compared to the 2007 baseline. Irrigation controls achieved a 60 percent reduction in water use in only one year. The Center was also the first Army Reserve facility to achieve Net Zero energy, when it produced as much energy as it consumed in 2017.

The 9th Mission Support Command's projects at Kaoru Moto Army Reserve Center have many benefits for the Army Reserve. Maui is located on a vulnerable, environmentally sensitive island that relies on fuel imports. Energy conservation reduces Hawaii's dependence on foreign oil, increases its energy security and even reduces the state's emissions by 176 tons of carbon dioxide every year. The initiatives build a comfortable and efficient facility for Soldiers and their Civilian support force. And, they provide an estimated cost avoidance of nearly $105,000 every year.

For First Lieutenant Benjamin Spiker, the FEMP award establishes the 9th Mission Support Command as a model of sustainability for the entire Army Reserve. Spiker, the facility manager at Kaoru Moto Army Reserve Center, called the honor "prestigious" and "a huge achievement." "The award is a motivator to build on what we have accomplished here and to share our knowledge, so others can follow in our footsteps," he said. "For a single facility that is so far from Washington [D.C.], recognition at [the federal level] is unbelievable and really shows that the actions that we take toward energy conservation matter in the big picture."

Christina Vicari, Energy Manager for the 9th Mission Support Command, shared Spiker's sentiments. "All of the hard work and coordination involved in moving these projects forward has succeeded," she said. "The award proves the possibilities of creating energy efficient facilities and saving money in the long run for American taxpayers. It reminds me that, as far as the target may seem in the beginning, we can achieve this for other sites, project by project. For the team as a whole, and especially for those who are new to energy, [the award] may plant a seed as to the viability of energy projects."

Paul Wirt, Chief of Army Reserve Sustainability Programs, garnered a Career Exceptional Performance Award.

Wirt's career in sustainability has spanned 24 years, from Chief of Environmental Management with the Directorate of Public Works at Fort Bragg, North Carolina to his current position with the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

Wirt has guided strategic and effective energy, water, solid waste and environmental quality programs that promote a culture of resource-conscious Soldiers, Civilians and Families throughout the Army Reserve. He has been instrumental in developing a Building Energy Monitor Program; managing the Army Reserve's Net Zero sites; implementing a comprehensive facility evaluation process; and initiating an Enterprise Building Control System to increase energy efficiency at sites across the enterprise.

The Army Reserve has achieved significant successes under Wirt's tutelage. From fiscal year 2015 to 2016, the enterprise reduced its energy use intensity by 17.9 percent -- the most of any land holding command in the Department of the Army -- for a cost avoidance of $6.7 million, or the level of funding required to produce nine named Army Reserve training missions. The Army Reserve has also reduced its potable water consumption by 51 percent since 2007.

Wirt shared his accolade with his colleagues and affirmed the lasting impacts of their efforts. "This award is a tremendous honor and a testimony to the dedication of our sustainability team and all of the energy and water champions across the Army Reserve," he said. "I am fortunate to work with an outstanding group of professionals and leaders who provide the essential support to affect real change while drastically reducing our consumption and realizing significant cost avoidance. By embracing a collective vision to change our organizational culture and make our facilities across the world more energy and water secure, the Army Reserve has embraced mission resiliency."

The Department of Energy presented the FEMP awards in a ceremony on November 2, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

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