Every year since 1970, Earth Day has been observed on April 22nd. This annual event celebrates life on Earth, demonstrating our commitment to protect and preserve our planet and its valuable natural resources.

The US Army celebrates Earth Day at approximately 200 commands, installations and organizations in the continental United States and around the world. To the Army, Earth Day is an opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to environmental sustainability and reducing the Army "bootprint" on the environment.

In keeping with this commitment, since fiscal year 2008 all new Army construction projects have to meet the New Construction Silver Certification Standards of the US Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, including our new C4ISR campus at APG.

A number of "green" strategies have been employed to reduce C4ISR facilities energy use by over 30 percent, beginning with the building placement. The buildings have been positioned to maximize the use of sunlight during each season, maximizing heat gain during winter while in summer reducing heat absorption. This strategic engineering significantly reduces electricity consumption to heat and cool the facility.

The most substantial energy savings comes from a hydrothermal heating and cooling system used in the
Mission Training Facility lab space. This system, the largest in the country, uses water-based thermal transfer mediums rather than an air-based system. Ground-source heat pumps are the primary source for both heating and cooling, with tempered water piped throughout the building core and along the exterior perimeter. The energy savings based on the hydrothermal system alone is significant, with the annual projected savings of $1 million per year at current utility rates.

The most obvious feature is the living roof on the new Pruden Auditorium. Looking like a part of the natural landscape, the roof will be completely covered with vegetation specifically chosen to prevent erosion, absorb rainwater, provide insulation, lower surrounding air temperatures and create a habitat for area wildlife.

The list of environmentally friendly qualities does not stop there. Green screens on the outside of the buildings promote plant growth around the facilities while providing shading. Exterior window fins and interior light shelves control sun and direct light throughout the interior spaces, while restriction hardware on toilets and lavatories reduce wasteful water consumption. The buildings' water runoff is even recycled
back into the subterranean watershed. Finally, low volatile organic compounds as well as sustainable materials will be used throughout the buildings and in office furniture.

Clearly, the C4ISR campus is doing its part to support the Army's Earth Day commitment to reduce its bootprint. As individuals, you too can help to reduce the bootprint further. This Earth Day, consider what you can do to "Sustain the Environment for a Secure Future."