By Lt. Col. James Billings/Army Reserve PAOApril 15, 2011
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - In a time of declining defense budgets, "going green" makes economic sense, the U.S. Army Reserve Command's top civilian told business leaders March 30.
Tad Davis, chief executive officer for USARC, spoke at the National Green Business Conference hosted by Fayetteville State University. Before joining the command in August 2010, Davis served as deputy assistant secretary of the Army for environment, safety and occupational health in Washington, D.C.
Environmental sustainability refers to efforts to reduce consumption of resources, such as recycling and energy conservation. Davis encouraged businesses to develop their own definition and personal vision of sustainability to remain competitive.
"It's not just tree-hugging folks doing this," Davis said. "In order for us to be successful, we, as business people, need to embrace this."
Davis gave examples of businesses, such as IBM and Saab, that are finding economic reasons to reduce their resource consumption. The hotel industry, especially, is benefitting from not only reduced energy, water and waste disposal expenses, but from the "green glow" from customers who prefer "green" companies, he added.
The Army, along with the rest of the federal government, has embraced sustainability. As pressure mounts on the Department of Defense to reduce costs, "sustainability is a way we can get there from here," Davis said.
Each new building the Army constructs over the next five years will be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council for leadership in energy and environmental design. With as much as $5 billion in new construction planned, those environmentally friendly design features mean significant savings for taxpayers.
The new headquarters building for Forces Command and USARC at Fort Bragg will be certified at the "silver" level of LEED by the USGBC. The facility will use 40 percent less water than standard buildings and 17 percent less energy, among other savings.
Green buildings contribute to the Army's triple bottom line of mission, environment and community, Davis said.
Businesses and government organizations should build, buy and go green for their people, the planet and, perhaps most importantly, their profit, he said.
"It's got to be embedded in us, in what we do in our daily lives and in the corporate world," Davis said. "We cannot take things for granted."