A non-partisan, neutral perspective supporting diversity in the color of water

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

DOD Scores Some Zzzzz, Zones Out on Z6

Thanks to colleague and friend D. Marshall for bringing this article in SustainableBusiness.com about the Army going net zero on environmental impact to my attention through this article about urban buildings *unplugging* from the grid.

The "net zero" energy bases are: Fort Detrick, Maryland; Fort Hunter Liggett, Park Reserve Forces Training Area and Sierra Army Depot, California; Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands; and West Point, New York.

Net zero water bases: Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD.; Camp Rilea, OR; Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico; Fort Riley, KS; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA; and Tobyhanna Army Depot, PA.

Net zero waste: Fort Detrick, Fort Hunter Liggett, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Ford Hood, TX; Fort Polk, LA; U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr, Germany.

The Oregon Army National Guard volunteered to go net zero - on energy, waste and water - across the state, as did Fort Bliss in Texas and Fort Carson in Colorado.

And here is the DOD Sustainability Scorecard here, perhaps what can be referred to as the *Colors of Sustainability* in the continually growing list of the colors of things. Not a bad score! But it is missing one key *Z* - ZERO IGNORANCE, or *Z6*.

What is up with Camp Rilea shooting for the stars on reducing their environmental impact, especially when Oregon is still working through their Graywater Reuse rules? On the basis of other *green* news, the only connection I can make is Camp Rilea has an architect as the base commander. Yes, according to this article in the Coast River Business Journal announcing the change in commander to Lt. Col Christian Rees.

"When his six-year term of service was up, he considered life after Army. He enrolled at the University of Oregon, and earned a master’s degree in architecture...It wasn’t wasted time. His credentials make him uniquely qualified to head the architectural review process that oversees millions of dollars in construction projects at Camp Rilea and Guard facilities across the state".

This news is similar to the posting on the Moon Brothers living building project in Portland. We are not seeing state or local agencies promoting *net zero water* concepts, but rather folks who design projects. Here is a recent article about another architect, María-Paz Gutierrez, a University of California, Berkeley, assistant professor of architecture, winning a Fulbright scholarship for her research of affordable, sustainable housing. She is also part of the NSF-sponsored research team integrating greywater disinfection into building designs as described in this article.

Both the Camp Rilea project and the Moon Brothers project make me think that the State of Oregon might be wiser investing their Oregon Sustainability Center funds into these existing projects rather than trying to start from scratch because the public will better connect change to *sustainable living practices* with these projects since they already exist, much like the Tyson Center in Missouri. At least using this approach will permit Oregon a chance to level the playing field in the Living Building Wars in the Pacific Northwest.

Here's hoping Lt. Col Christian Rees continues to lead the way in catching more Zzz in his quest for *net zero* for the Oregon National Guard. Thanks for your service.

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