FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (June 9, 2011) -- At last weekend's 2nd Annual Greenlife Festival at Savage Mill, Mick Butler talked about all the installation is doing to reduce the installation's environmental "boot print" through the implementation of the installation's Green Meade Plan.

"Protecting the environment is everyone's responsibility," said Butler, chief of Fort Meade's Environmental Division.

Butler spoke Saturday at the two-day event in Savage that was centered on going "green" with various, environmentally friendly products including solar and wind power. The festival, sponsored by Smith Industries and Savage Mill, featured various speakers, live music, a farmers' market, demonstrations and more than 29 green exhibitors and sponsors.

During his 40-minute presentation, Butler detailed Fort Meade's environmental initiatives beginning with the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design - Silver Certification on buildings recently constructed as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure relocations of the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Defense Media Activity and the Adjudication facility.

LEED is an internationally recognized, green building certification, providing third-party verification that the Fort Meade buildings were designed with the environment in mind.

Butler went on to speak about Meade's environmental past, present and framework for the future.

The Environmental Division is still focused on correcting past practices by overseeing the cleanup efforts of contaminated soil and groundwater on the grounds of the installation.

Currently, the goal is to keep the post compliant with newly enacted federal, state and Army regulations and executive orders on such environmental concerns as issues with the quality of air and water and the proper disposal of waste, Butler said.

The ultimate goal for the installation in the not-so-distant future is Net Zero, the Army's vision for producing as much renewable energy as it uses during a year, conserving and reusing potable water and solid waste with a net zero impact for these resources.

As Soldiers live, work and train on installations, the use and production of natural resources will balance out so in the end, the community does not overconsume or waste those resources, said Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, Installation Management Commander, in a previous Soundoff! article.

"The most exciting part of the Army Net Zero vision is this: We all have a part to play in achieving it," Lynch wrote.

Working together is a key component for the Environmental Division plan for change, Butler said.

One part is collectively and consistently asking the work force, "Are we are doing the right things? Are we doing things right? And what are we missing?" Butler said. "I think enough of us get it. With the bright ideas generated in this room and across the country, [Fort Meade] will get there. The post will reach its environmental goals."

Several audience members were looking for insight in the area of energy conservation.

Fort Meade has solar-powered lights at one vehicle inspection station, with plans to expand the effort, Butler said. In addition, geothermal heating and cooling systems have been installed in historic homes on post.

"I have always been interested in renewable energy," said Lijin Soe, a recent George Washington University graduate with a Master of Science degree in environmental and energy management. "I was thrilled to see that the Army envisions renewable energy as a part of the energy solution," he said.

Fort Meade is looking from every angle to reduce the post's "boot print" on the environment, Butler said. "We have to find a way to march forward in a meaningful way," he said.

Butler shared other efforts Fort Meade has implemented to efficiently cut down on it's environmental impact, such as converting more than 500 heating oil systems to gas, eliminating the medical waste incinerator and the restoration of Burba Lake.

"I think it's fantastic that they go beyond just doing the right initiatives," said Cynthia Brouwers, an environmental engineer for Howard County. "They actually engage the public in conversation about what they are doing for the environment. I know something about Fort Meade, but I had no idea of some of the initiatives.

"I am hoping we could share information with the Fort Meade Environmental Division regarding storm-water regulation compliance that both of our divisions are subject to. The talk was fascinating for me both personally and professionally."