WIESBADEN, Germany - Members of the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden were among representatives from more than 30 companies and organizations honored by the city of Wiesbaden in a ceremony at the Rathaus (City Hall) March 27.
 
For the third time in four years, the Wiesbaden military community earned the coveted Oekoprofit Letter of Commendation for having successfully completed the city's yearlong environmental/energy audit process.
 
Whereas past Oekoprofit initiatives focused on ways to reduce energy consumption and waste, save resources and improve operations in a Wiesbaden Army Airfield hangar, motor pool and at the dining facility, the 2011-2012 project homed in on environmental efforts to enhance overall sustainment while saving resources at the Rheinblick Golf Course. That effort, accomplished in the midst of a massive renovation project to upgrade the Wiesbaden military community golf course, saw the installation of a windmill saving more than 12,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity and reducing CO2 emissions by 7.9 tons a year.
 
"I'm happy to see that the Oekoprofit idea has not stagnated but has even grown over the years in interest and participation," said Wiesbaden Lord Mayor Dr. Helmut Müller during the ceremony.
 
Pointing out that by looking toward the future to find ways to be more environmentally aware, participants in the city's Oekoprofit initiative have demonstrated that their efforts also lead to sound business practices -- for both smaller and larger concerns.
 
"The idea of this program is to demonstrate that the two -- environmental awareness and good business practices -- can go together," said the lord mayor. "It also shows that this is not mere window dressing but the foundation for successful business."
 
During the yearlong Oekoprofit program, members of the participating organizations join together at different hosting sites to share ideas, address relevant legal and environmental issues and examine ways to improve processes. Members of the city's Environmental Office and subject matter experts contribute to the process.
 
"Why do we do this?" asked Arno Gossmann, Wiesbaden mayor and environmental manager. "We do it because we want to promote environmental awareness and conservation.
 
"If we look back over 11 years of Oekoprofit in Wiesbaden we can be proud, but we shouldn't be overly enthusiastic," Gossmann said, adding, "We have a long road ahead of us. There is still much to be done in the areas of saving energy and protecting the environment."
 
The question of how to supply enough energy remains one of the most important concerns and will continue to be "the question for the future," he said, adding, "but those who are forward thinking today will also be ahead in the future."
 
The city officials cited some of the accomplishments by the participating Oekoprofit members this year -- saving ,1 million in costs; " 43,000 liters of fuel; " 4 million liters of water and " reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 12 million kilograms.
 
"The garrison wins many awards, and many of them have to do with our close relationship with the city of Wiesbaden," said Col. David Carstens, USAG Wiesbaden commander, while accepting the Letter of Commendation from Lord Mayor Müller. "I hope that this is a series of Oekoprofit awards that the garrison will receive."
 
Carstens added that he was especially proud of the Oekoprofit accomplishment, pointing out that protecting the environment and conserving resources is extremely important for everyone's future.