By Fort Detrick Public Affairs staff
FORT DETRICK, Md. - Army leaders met here for day one of the first Net Zero Workshop, June 14. The three-day conference brings together leaders from over 20 installations chosen by the Army to discuss sustainability practices and share information to better reduce energy and water usage as well as the amount of waste created.
As part of the Army's overall effort to conserve precious resources, net zero installations will consume only as much energy or water as they produce and eliminate solid waste to landfills. Instead of thinking about today, thinking about 50 years from now when our children and their families are here.
“I tell my staff all the time that if there is one thing that I can leave my stamp on and be known for as a Garrison Commander at Fort Detrick it is the culture of sustainability that has been developed here…thinking of things in the long run,” said Col. Judith Robinson, commander, U.S. Army Garrison Commander Fort Detrick, during her opening remarks to the crowd.
Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, commanding general, U.S. Army Installation Management Command and assistant chief of Staff for Installation Management, was also in attendance, and said, “Because the installations who are attending the conference raised their hands to be a part of the pilot, that they are now high on the radar at the Army, Department of Defense and national levels.”
Lynch told the crowd achieving net zero success is all about attitude, innovation, fiscal responsibility and the aggression to actively pursue information about net zero efforts and successes, sharing them with others. Lynch specifically mentioned the website garrisoncommand.com was established as a route to share information, thoughts and processes with other garrisons, stressing those in attendance utilize the site.
Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army (Installations, Energy and Environment), Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army, stressed the vital nature of reducing energy consumption, and told the attendees about a 2009 exercise that demonstrated how the Army is dependent on civilian electric grids, water systems and waste management systems, all of which have the possibility to deeply affect our individual missions and abilities.
“Now is the time to utilize the authorities given by Congress and other resources to pay for new and innovative programs to reach the goal,” said Hammack. Hammack told the crowd the federal government consumes a total of 1percent of total energy in the United States, and 80 percent of that usage is from the Department of Defense.
“Of this the Army using 21percent. It’s time to change that way we operate. Net zero installations are leading the way,” she said. Among others speaking at the opening day events were Nancy Sutley, chair, White House Council on Environmental Quality and Charles Zimmerman, vice president of International Design and Construction, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Following lunch, Bobi Garrett, senior vice president of Outreach, Planning and Analysis, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, gave a presentation and took questions entitled “Strategic Planning, First Step to Achieving Net Zero” and took questions from the crowd.
The final panel of the day was a discussion of legal and environmental considerations led by Colleen Rathbun, associate deputy general Counsel, Office of the Army General Counsel.
Following a cake cutting to celebrate the 236th birthday of the U.S. Army, the attendees took a tour of the Fort Detrick energy, water and waste facilities to learn what initiatives and innovations Fort Detrick has implemented heading toward a net zero outcome.