By Chrystal Smith (USAG Wiesbaden)January 19, 2012
WIESBADEN, Germany - The Directorates of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation and Public Works have partnered to make strides to save taxpayers greenbacks on the greens.
As part of last year's Ecological Project for Integrated Environmental Technology Project, the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden DPW Environmental Division is getting rid of the electrically powered water reservoir aeration system at the irrigation pond at Rheinblick Golf Course and replacing it with a windmill aeration system.
"The golf course staff came to us with the idea. … The current system does not effectively provide aeration for the water irrigation reservoir," said Alwin Garcia Martinez, chief of the Environmental Division.
USAG Wiesbaden has been a voluntary participant for three years now in the program that was launched by the city of Wiesbaden in 2000. In 2011 the garrison participated with eight other German companies.
"The (aeration) system costs about $3,000 and will be a quick payback … within a year," said Axel Grell, an environmental specialist with the garrison's DPW, who added that the system will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about eight tons and save approximately $3,300 yearly.
The aeration system includes a windmill that stands about 14.8 to 16 feet (four and a half to five meters) and includes a diffuser for maximum aeration action. It will provide forced aeration to the bottom of the water reservoir. This action will improve the overall water quality and habitat in and around the reservoir.
In November the Garrison DPW, working with the DFMWR golf course staff participated in a rigorous facility and environmental assessment led by the city of Wiesbaden's Ecoprofit Team.
"An important benefit that's not quantifiable is that the garrison's public image and communication with the city has improved greatly," said Garcia, who added that Ecoprofit also serves as an exchange forum between the program's participants. "We get to see how other companies are conducting business and share ideas for best practices. The other participating companies also get to see how the garrison conducts business, which is a rare opportunity given today's force protection environment. The experience has become a very positive professional and cultural exchange."
Though participation with Ecoprofit is voluntary for the garrison, inclusion supports the division's continual efforts to sustain and maintain compliance with environmental standards.
"Our Ecoprofit participation is a great example where our relationship with our German host is improved while achieving environmental objectives and improved compliance with SOFA regulated standards. This program also encourages synergy from improving our compliance while improving our use of air, water and energy resources," said Garcia, who added that the garrison already has implemented an Environmental Management System that conforms with the international ISO 14001 standard.
"The program provides the garrison with the opportunity to work with host nation partners in developing and implementing sustainable environmental practices," said Kader Guerba, environmental division.
And while the USAG Wiesbaden windmill aeration system project was recognized as a best Ecoprofit measure by all the German participants, garrison engineers also picked up other tips along the way which are adding to the garrison's environmental efforts.
Grell said there is an ongoing effort to replace old light bulbs with new energy efficient ones. Switching off lights and power supplies to monster energy consuming machines such as printers and copiers when not in use are other areas of focus. And now many default printer settings are switched to print double-sided to save on paper consumption.
The Environmental Division already received confirmation from the city's project consultant that the USAG Wiesbaden met all the 2011 Ecoprofit project requirements; for this accomplishment the garrison commander is expected to receive a letter of commendation from the city of Wiesbaden in a March formal ceremony at city hall where the year's achievements will be recognized.