Pushed by federal legislative mandates and the need to save money on energy costs, the U.S. Navy has reduced its overall consumption level by 12 percent as of this year, reports the Federal Times.
No additional funds were allocated for the effort, so the Navy is using “share-in-savings” contract systems: Companies pay for the energy upgrades out of their own pockets, and the Navy pays them back through resulting savings in its energy bills.
So far, projects have centered around wind energy generation, solar photovoltaic systems, geothermal systems, and ocean thermal energy conversion – mostly in or around their bases in California, but also at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and in the Indian Ocean.
The renewable energy projects are part of a larger effort from the entire Defense Department agencies to meet its internal goal of generating 25 percent of all energy from renewable sources by 2025. Last month, the U.S. Army released its first sustainability report. The Army has set a goal of cutting GHG emissions 30 percent.
The Navy has also moved the energy cuts to the micro level, encouraging Marines and their families to install more energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances and turn off lights when not in use, saying that the money saved in energy bills will go toward facility upkeep and maintenance.
One of the Navy’s most ambitious projects is a green military base in Guam, which will be occupied by 10,000 Marines and their families in about five years. The buildings are being designed and constructed with the goal of achieving LEED silver certification.
All U.S. agencies appear to be stepping up their efforts. The Army, Navy, and Air Force announced plans to start using electric cars and light trucks for provide on-base transport.
The 4,000 electric cars will save 11.5 million gallons of fuel each year, which translates swiftly into cost savings as the cars will use $400 in electricity versus $2,400 in gas, annually.
Running ships and jets at less than maximum speeds is another way to save on fuel, the Navy found.