By COL. BRUCE JENKINS
Sunday marks Earth Day, a movement that started in 1970 with the aim of promoting a greener environment that will help secure a healthy future for our children and grandchildren.
More than 1 billion people participate in Earth Day activities each year, according to the Earth Day Network. This is truly an astounding number as well as an encouraging sign that people across the world care about the civic responsibility of being good stewards of our environment.
At Fort Knox, we have a team that works on what I’d call Earth Day activities, but they do it every day. And they do a fantastic job every day. In fact, the team, which falls under the Directorate of Public Works, has received significant recognition for their work, which includes eight consecutive Secretary of the Army Energy Awards.
Simply put, Fort Knox is the gold standard across Army installations for practicing energy efficiency, energy innovativeness, reducing our energy footprint, becoming less dependent on foreign oil, saving government money on energy expenditures, and environmental stewardship.
Here are the facts and figures:
* Fort Knox’s energy consumption has decreased by 40 percent since 1990;
* 6.1 million square feet of office space is heated and cooled using geothermal energy;
* Biogenic methane gas is extracted from Devonian shale beneath Fort Knox at 165,000 Mcf (thousand cubic feet) per year;
* 36 solar voltaic systems totaling 1.57 megawatts have been installed in the last four years;
* The temperatures of 300 buildings are monitored, analyzed and controlled from a single room using Tracer Summit Automation;
* The 78-year old Henry House, which is used as a guest house, is a “net zero” energy home because of its energy efficiency upgrades, which include smart windows, solar panels and gray water collection;
* Fort Knox won an Army Communities of Excellence Award this year and was awarded $25,000 for our Hazardous Materials Amnesty Day program;
* Fort Knox has been certified as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation and Kentucky Division of Forestry for our tree care standards and forestry education campaign;
Despite the successes, the team continues to take the leading edge. As such, I’m confident Fort Knox will someday become its own energy island. It’s a lofty goal, but it’s one that we inch closer toward each year.
The cleanliness and maintenance of the installation is another area in which the garrison command devotes serious attention. Believe me, it’s no fluke why our installation is beautiful. On weekends, the garrison command sergeant major and I get in electric vehicles and drive around post to pick up trash and help make sure the post looks good. We also dedicate Soldiers to do the same during the weekdays.
I’d ask, though, that everyone who lives and works on post join the garrison command in this effort; not just one day in celebration of Earth Day, but 365 days a year.
It’s about being a responsible citizen, even going so far as to pick up someone else’s left-behind trash. We should all care that much about this installation and take pride in making this community a better place.
I also want to remind everyone about our recycle center program. They do a lot of business. In fact, in fiscal year 2011, the program recycled 1,200 tons of metal, about 1,100 tons of paper and cardboard, and 425 tons of plastic. However, we can do better. If you have items that can be recycled, head over to the recycle center located at Building 94 on Dixie Street. They’re open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. You can also call (502) 624-5026 for more information. The recycle program is a self-funded operation, and any profits go back into the post’s environmental, safety and DFMWR programs.
Working to make our post a better place to live, train, serve and play—one Soldier, one Civilian, and one Family member at a time. Defend and Serve!