WIESBADEN, Germany - With the world's resources dwindling at an ever faster rate and energy costs consistently rising, future planners are realizing that long-term sustainability demands creative solutions. That means including all aspects of energy use, waste disposal and alternative energy construction considerations when first approaching projects.
But encouraging everyone to play a role in long-term sustainability also means changing the way many people live their daily lives.
"Remember, it's about culture change," said Maj. Bill McGlothlin, operations officer for the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Directorate of Public Works. "It's hard to change a culture."
McGlothlin, who has dedicated much of his time in October during Energy Awareness Month to spreading the conservation message, spoke to David Craig's environmental science class at Wiesbaden High School Oct. 11.
Describing the Defense Department's drive to reduce energy costs by attempting to make military installations net zero -- meaning that input and output are balanced -- McGlothlin said the Army has mandated that several major posts accomplish this by 2025.
"We have the technology to do it, and you'll see more and more of this in the future. If you go to one of the big Army posts in the future you'll see evidence of that effort -- solar panels, increased recycling, geo thermal, etc.," he said. "This is not science fiction -- this is happening now.
"We, as Americans -- a lot of us don't think about it," said McGlothlin, telling the students that even on the local level, energy is a major concern.
"In Europe, energy is very expensive. Here in (USAG) Wiesbaden, our energy bill is $24 million a year, strictly for energy consumption," he said.
With still more people moving into the Wiesbaden military community, it is imperative that all members of the Army Family do their bit to help conserve, McGlothlin said. That means turning off lights when not in use, using energy-efficient devices such as washing machines at the energy-saving setting and not wasting resources by doing such things as opening the windows wide in winter while blasting radiators.
Americans can take a lesson from their German neighbors, he added, as leaders in the effort to develop and market solar energy, use of wind power and refuse recycling.
"I'd like for you to survey the school and find out how much is wasted," Craig asked his students. "I'd like for us as a school to get excited about this. How many kilowatts can we save?"