U.S. Army Base in Mojave Desert Embraces Alternative Energy
Photo Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times
Ft. Irwin, a U.S. Army based in San Bernadino, California is making big changes…Green changes. Solar panels and wind turbines power computers, newly installed insulation and solar-reflective coating on buildings drastically reduce energy consumption, and electric cars transport troops across the base. Though this effort is more about cutting costs than curbing global warming, any green initiatives taken by the U.S. army is a great thing!
In the barracks alone, this newly installed insulation and solar reflective coating reduced generator usage by 45% to 75%. This is thought to cut carbon emissions by 35 million pounds per year–equivalent to taking 3,500 cars vehicles off the road and also save the Army $100 million over 5 years, according to Eric Gardner, a logistics management specialist at the base.
The Department of Defense is the biggest energy consumer in the U.S, and it currently receives only 9.8% of it energy from alternative sources but is aiming to expand. This has many alternative energy savvy people as well as environmentalists on their toes because a switch of that magnitude could really lower the cost of alternative energy, not to mention the extraordinary decrease in CO2 emissions. Thanks go to President Obama for including in the stimulus package $120 million to improve the energy efficiency of Defense installations and $300 million for military research into alternative energy.