Monday, April 10, 2006

US Air Force Continues to Green Itself

I know I've written about the Air Force's commitment to buying renewable power, but I'll be damned if I can find it... GreenBiz reports that the US military's youngest branch is looking to broaden its commitment to environmental responsibility through a comprehensive environmental strategy:
For the past six months, the U.S. Air Force has been working on a strategy to have energy as a consideration in nearly all of its activities, from operations to acquisition. The Air Force is increasing efforts to reduce the demand for energy using good building design, advanced planning tools for operations, more efficient jet engines and better conservation practices, according to Undersecretary of the Air Force Dr. Ronald Sega.

Dyess and Fairchild Air Force bases, located in Texas and Washington respectively, now power 100% of their ground facilities by renewable energy. In October, the Air Force won a U.S. EPA/DOE 2005 Green Power Leadership Award for its commitment to green power as the nation's largest purchaser of renewable energy for 2004.

Additionally, the Air Force is looking for ways to make its flying operations more energy conscious, with ongoing research into more efficient jet engines and unconventional fuels for current and future aircraft.
Even as the Air Force is touting its strategy for future sustainability efforts, the article notes some already impressive accomplishments:
Some results of Air Force efforts include:
  • The Air Force is the largest purchaser of renewable energy in the United States.

  • 11% of electricity the Air Force purchases comes from renewable energy sources.

  • Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., is the largest purchaser of renewable energy, with 138 million kilowatt hours of power purchased each year - enough to satisfy 60% of its electrical needs.

  • Air Force installation of wind farms at Ascension Island and F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo.

  • Reduction of Air Force energy use by 30% since 1985.

  • 25% of the Air Force’s vehicle fleet are flex-fuel capable vehicles.
There's no doubt that the military consumes huge amounts of energy, and has a sizeable environmental footprint otherwise, so its great to see at least one branch of the armed forces taking such significant steps. I'll avoid getting into the environmental costs of waging war (you're certainly welcome to, though), and stick with congratulating the Air Force on these stateside measures.

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