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McCoy works toward Net Zero status

By Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff

Fort McCoy has implemented aggressive conservation/reduction programs for energy, water and waste-stream resources. The efforts seek to protect and extend, and, whenever possible, recycle or reuse those resources, said Fort McCoy water and energy program managers.

PHOTO: A Soldier cleans a vehicle at the Central Vehicle Wash Facility following training at Fort McCoy. File photo
A Soldier cleans a vehicle at the Central Vehicle Wash Facility following training at Fort McCoy. The facility has an 11-million gallon holding pond and can recycle 98 percent of the water, which is reused to clean vehicles and equipment. (File photo)

The programs help the installation reach the Net Zero Energy, Waste and Water goals established by Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, Installation Management Command commanding general, said Michael Kelley and Michael Miller. Kelley is the installation Energy manager, and Miller is the Water and Wastewater branch chief for the Fort McCoy for the Directorate of Public Works. The Net Zero vision is to balance the use and production of resources so the Army does not over consume or waste resources, Lynch wrote in a Defender 6 article, published in the Feb. 11 issue of The Real McCoy.

Darrell Neitzel, director of Fort McCoy’s Directorate of Public Works, said, “Fort McCoy has always been very good at conserving natural resources and energy. (The installation) used wood to fuel facilities many years ago, and is currently looking at going back to a bio-fuel method of heating many of our buildings. We also are looking at many other newer technologies for generating our own electricity — lighting our office buildings and security lights with new LED lights, and some limited solar applications and geothermal systems to use the ground water to supply heat and energy. All of these actions will lead us toward achieving the Army’s strategy of being energy independent.”

Energy
Fort McCoy’s efforts in the energy field focus on conserving and reducing the use of energy, Kelley said.
This includes specifying and using energy-efficient equipment, constructing new buildings and renovating existing buildings on the installation.

“We use energy-saving construction concepts, such as insulation, lighting, windows and heating/cooling systems when renovating existing structures,” Kelley said. “We also encourage energy-saving behavior, such as shutting off the lights when leaving a room or office, keeping windows closed while air conditioning is being used, not turning up the heat, etc.”

Fort McCoy is examining renewable energy as a viable energy source, he said. The installation must meet the Army’s guidance on ultimate life-cycle costs and payback on the initial investment.

Recycling
The installation also has worked to reduce and recycle construction waste for quite a while. For example, in 2004, Olympic Builders of Holmen, Wis., did an excellent job of recycling scrap materials from the Exchange project, building 1538, according to the Directorate of Public Works.

Kelley said 100 percent of the demolition concrete gets recycled and reused.

Last year, the installation crushed 17,153 tons of concrete into two different sizes and mostly used it for roads and grounds projects throughout the installation.

Crushed concrete, once laid and in place, gets wet, hardens and makes a great base for road construction, he said.
Miller said the installation has an extensive recycling plan. For fiscal year 2010, 3,945 tons of waste were generated, with 1,677 tons being recycled for a 42.5 percent recycling rate. This met the Army requirement of recycling 40 percent of its waste stream, Miller said.

The installation recycles 27 items, including paper, cardboard, aluminum cans, steel cans, plastics, glass and scrap metals.
The installation would pay approximately $55 to $90 a ton to dispose of these items in a landfill, he said.

“Recycling is one facet of Fort McCoy’s comprehensive environmental program,” Miller said. “It not only conserves natural resources, but also minimizes the negative environmental impacts of waste disposal.”

The ultimate success of the program is due, in large part, to an educated and motivated work force that knows what materials to recycle, takes the time to separate those items from the waste stream and sets those items aside for the recycling crew to collect.

Miller said the installation is on track to meet a 50 percent diversion rate by 2015.

McCoy’s largest water-conservation program to date is the Central Vehicle Wash Facility, Miller said.

The facility has an 11-million gallon holding pond, with filtration methods used to remove sand and other remaining sediment from water.

“This gives us good, clean water to wash the vehicles,” said Carl Blixt, supervisor of Fort McCoy’s Troop Installation Support Branch.

The facility reuses about 98 percent of the water to clean vehicles or equipment.

As an added benefit of the process, training efforts are supported by extending the life expectancy of the vehicles/equipment, and helps reduce maintenance costs and prevent equipment breakdowns, Blixt said.

“We have just started to install water-conservation devices, such as low-flow toilets and water-saving shower heads in our new construction projects to conserve water,” Miller said.

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