WASHINGTON (Army News Service, March 4, 2013) -- During an overview of where the Army is headed in the evolution of its three "Net Zero" programs, the service's assistant secretary for installations, energy and environment said the department will make available by the end of the year a progress report on all three programs.
Additionally, the Army will create a garrison commander's guide to Net Zero -- one that will account for differences in both climate and geography across installations, said Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, environment and energy, while speaking before the Atlantic Council, Feb. 27, in Washington, D.C.
"The intent of releasing Net Zero data on our projects is so it can not only be a tool for the Army, but it can also be a tool used by communities, cities and even by large campuses like universities to learn from what we've tried, what's worked, and maybe a little of what hasn't worked," Hammack said.
The Army's Net Zero Installation Strategy is about reducing energy use, water use and waste production, to help secure the Army's mission. A Net Zero energy installation produces as much energy as it consumes, resulting in a net usage of zero, for instance. A Net Zero water installation limits its consumption of freshwater resources and returns water back to the same watershed, so as not to deplete groundwater. Finally, a Net Zero waste installation reduces, reuses, and recovers waste streams with a goal of zero landfill use.
The Army identified 17 pilot installations for the program in 2011. Each is working now to achieve "Net Zero" in one or more of the three areas of interest: energy, water or waste.
Hammack likened Army posts to small cities, because they include infrastructure such as housing areas, recreation and retail establishments and gas stations. She also said the Army is "one of the largest, if not the largest facility user of energy" in the country.
The Army occupies nearly a billion square feet of permanent building space throughout the U.S., as well as in Korea and Germany, she said. That figure does not include contingency bases around the globe or in Afghanistan. She also said within the Army universe are 106,000 homes being used by 2.2 million Soldiers and their families.
"Our bill last year was about $1.3 billion for utilities in the U.S.," Hammack said. "If you take into account the liquid fuels that we use in theater, we're somewhere around $5 billion a year. We use a lot of energy, and that's why we looked at Net Zero."
Hammack said the Army's approach to Net Zero includes energy, water and waste because the three are interconnected.
"An overarching Net Zero plan must address the interconnections between energy, water, and waste. When you use water, it takes energy to pipe that water, to distribute that water, to clean that water and to process that water so we have to take into account water consumption when you're looking at energy consumption," she said.