HomeNewsArticle Display

Air Force focuses on sustainability for Earth Day 2014 observance

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) -- Each year Air Force installations around the world observe Earth Day on April 22 by taking actions to support the Air Force's Earth Day theme of "Conserve Today - Secure Tomorrow."

This year, Air Force activities will focus on sustainability, referring to the capacity to continue the mission without compromise and operate into the future without decline - either in the mission, or the natural and man-made systems that support it.

Sustainability includes, to a large degree, sustainable installations and is important to making sure that we have and will continue to have, the water, materials and resources to protect human health and our environment.

In its 2013 Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan, adopted by the Air Force, the Department of Defense outlined four key priority areas: energy and reliance on energy, chemicals of environmental concern, water resource management and maintaining readiness in the face of climate change.

The Air Force is committed to reducing energy demands at its installations and increasing the availability of renewable energy sources.

While the Air Force's commitment to sustainable and energy-efficient facilities is not new -- the first policy to "apply sustainable development concepts" to facilities and infrastructure projects dates back to 2001 -- the Air Force issued guidance in June 2011 building on the Air Force's vision for sustainable installations where new vertical and major renovations fully incorporate federal requirements for high-performance and sustainable buildings. This includes achieving a minimum of 20 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, points dedicated toward energy efficiency and water conservation.

At Aviano Air Base, Italy, a new 144-Airmen dormitory was constructed in accordance with the latest energy efficiency standards, guaranteeing energy-saving performance. The facility's energy-reduction initiative included a solar-heating system for domestic hot water production.

The 64-panel heating system provides domestic hot water for the entire building, providing anticipated energy savings of at least 50 percent. Compared with traditional gas boilers, a total savings of more than 10,500 cubic meters of natural gas per year is anticipated as well as a reduction of 23,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions per year. The structure is the largest of its kind on the installation and additionally serves as covered parking for Airmen.

Six sustainable technologies were installed atop a roof on a security forces building at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas: cool roofing, solar-power generation, solar thermal, above-sheathing ventilation and rainwater catchment. The features are expected to reduce the utility bill, produce energy and provide water for irrigation. The project was funded by the Department of Defense Environmental Security Technologies Certification Program, which provides grants to industry to demonstrate sustainable products and systems. Preliminary data shows a 44-percent reduction in energy consumption, said Mary Lumsdon, Goodfellow's base energy manager.

"We were very excited to have been selected to have this project completed on our installation," Lumsdon said. "This project is a combination of several technologies coming together to aid in our goal of energy reduction and develop our on-base renewable energy sources."

Besides energy conservation, the Air Force is also focusing on reducing the use of hazardous and toxic chemicals and materials as part of its sustainability efforts.

At Vandenberg AFB, Calif., the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron implemented a green product procurement initiative to encourage more than 220 client shops to specify more environmentally friendly commodities when submitting their hazardous material requests. Any time a hazardous product is requested, the HAZMART team researches and recommends green alternatives.

Sometimes, making a change in an existing process can drastically reduce the production of hazardous waste. Engineers with the 72nd Air Base Wing at Tinker AFB, Okla., installed a filter press to remove water from hazardous industrial sludge prior to disposal. The filter reduced the amount of sludge disposed by 92 percent and over seven million pounds per year, saving about $1.2 million annually.

Fresh water is a limited and mission critical resource, and water conservation plays an important role in sustainability efforts. Installations across the Air Force are installing low-flow sinks and lavatories in their facilities, as well as promoting the use of landscaping using indigenous drought-tolerant lawn and plant varieties.

Wastewater treatment plays an import role in conservation. In 2013, Hurlburt Field, Fla., began operations to clean and recycle water for reuse. The water will predominantly be used for irrigation and wash rack purposes.

"Hurlburt Field is in a water resource caution area," said Jonathan Colmer, air and water program manager for the 1st Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron at Hurlburt. "Implementing the Hurlburt Field Reuse System will help conserve these groundwater resources for years to come."

Small changes can reap large savings, even at a facility which was built to save water. Engineers at Tinker AFB, Okla., discovered that installing valves on the cleaning discharge lines at a wastewater treatment plant there, and asking plant operators to close the valves at the end of their shifts, resulted in a fiscal 2013 savings of 104 million gallons of water and $1.7 million.

As stated in the DOD's sustainability plan, strategies which improve sustainability can also make the DOD more resilient to climate change. Conserving energy and water, while increasing the use of renewable energy, can help the Air Force be less vulnerable to fluctuations and shortages of the resources.

Although the Air Force continues making progress, officials emphasize more needs to be done and every Airman can make a difference.

"The Air Force recognizes its responsibilities to conserve, reduce waste, prevent pollution and make the Air Force a cleaner, more sustainable force every day," said Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Air Force Chief of Staff. "Earth Day provides an opportunity for every individual Airman to show their commitment to the environment and to wisely using our limited natural resources."

The Air Force will continue to collect personal posts on its "Blue Acts of Green" Facebook page at www.facebook.com/blueactsofgreen. Airmen and their families are encouraged to demonstrate their support by committing to perform an act of "green" at home or work to benefit the environment.

To assist installations in observing Earth Day, the Air Force Civil Engineer Center is producing an Earth Day Toolkit which will be available March 3 on the AFCEC website at http://www.afcec.af.mil/news/earthday2014.

(Courtesy Air Force Civil Engineer Center Public Affairs)

Engage

Twitter
Registration for Hack-A-Sat 2, which enables security researchers of all levels to focus their skills and creativit… https://t.co/nxUKmkhiTA
Twitter
The Installation Resilience Operations Center prototype is a game-changing solution for enhancing base security, em… https://t.co/ATHhejDoQJ
Twitter
“It’s important that you will be able to lead through complex challenges,” @GenCQBrownJr said. “I really want to ch… https://t.co/UI86usPVtO
Twitter
VCSAF Gen David W. Allvin visited various @AFResearchLab facilities to see how the 711th Human Performance Wing is… https://t.co/F5tpk0Mabc
Twitter
Invisible Wounds: Signs and Symptoms The Invisible Wounds Initiative, an @AFW2 Support Program, leads in creating… https://t.co/4SeYhlQuua
Twitter
Maggie Gee and Hazel Ying Lee were two of the first Chinese-American aviators to join the Women Airforce Service Pi… https://t.co/txl43oLLRs
Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: Listen to SrA Francis Andrew, assigned to the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, tell his story as one of the 'Lost Boys of Sudan.…
Twitter
#ICYMI Aircraft loaded with #COVID19 supplies left @Travis60AMW, California, bound for India. This shipment was jus… https://t.co/YdYFniZyok
Twitter
“While there are a lot of people who have done great things in the #AirForce, we wanted to recognize diversity and… https://t.co/bTH2aP5emk
Twitter
“It is a real honor, and I wish I could be there in person,”@GenCQBrownJr said during his acceptance speech. “I’d r… https://t.co/DH5Ou832K5
Twitter
RT @RealAFOSI: 1/ OSI's Guam based Detachment 602 recently spent time strengthening relationships throughout the Commonwealth of the North…
Twitter
RT @grandslamwing: Mobilizing to assist - anywhere, anytime. Members from #TeamAUAB aboard a C-17 from @TeamCharleston took off to assist t…
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: .@HiAirGuard Airmen deployed to California to participate in exercise Sentinel Response 2021 alongside @CalGuard Airmen a…
Twitter
.@GenCQBrownJr and @cmsaf_official discuss the best ways to help Airmen's talent to bloom. #Airmen #Questionshttps://t.co/GGDHJkiOOb
Twitter
Airmen at the 149th Fighter Wing, Texas, demonstrated an autonomous machine solution for an @AFWERX innovation init… https://t.co/5ZGnnOPfYi
Twitter
During a quarterly senior leader review, @KesselRunAF & @USAF_ACC leaders agreed the Air Operations Center Weapon S… https://t.co/FnXQYIiG86
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: #PublicServiceRecognitionWeek starts today! This is a chance to acknowledge the civil servants who dedicate themselves t…
Twitter
#ICYMI - The Air Force Employee Assistance Program has expanded the available resources available to #AirForce civi… https://t.co/t1eC1eRPfb
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,346,593
Follow Us