The US Army Net Zero policy on energy consumption builds on previous efforts to reduce oil dependency and wider DoD efforts on energy. The U.S. Army’s Garrison, Grafenwoehr, has been the most successful so far in implementing renewable energy initiatives and has won many awards. It now offers itself as an example and leading player in the Net Zero initiative.
USACE Europe District / CC BY 2.0
The ultimate goal is to match consumption of energy with energy produced on site or which can be sourced locally. The program also aims to use only water which is collected on site and to send no waste to landfill. The energy goals are clearly of military benefit apart from any environmental advantages which may accrue. Relying on other peoples’ oil is undesirable if avoidable. Water and waste also affect energy use and operational costs and are particularly important when it comes to transport logistics.
Grafenwoehr was selected to test the ability to reach zero waste and claim to have reduced household waste by 60% so far. Their energy policy involves, among other things, solar panels on army buildings which feed into the German grid. This is far from the energy independence that a pure military argument might require but is certainly beneficial to local renewable energy.
When guests of a foreign nation the Army is seeking to take its local responsibilities seriously, increasingly extending these responsibilities to environmental concern:
In a prepared statement announcing Grafenwoehr’s latest environmental award, Brig. Gen. Steven L. Salazar, commanding general of the Joint Multinational Training Command, said:
“Just like we take our responsibility to train Soldiers and care for Army families seriously, so, too, are we committed to being good stewards of the generous, highly complex, yet fragile environmental resources here.”