Today is Veterans’ Day. One thing most Americans probably don’t know about our armed forces is that they are very interested in energy and water efficiency. If you think about it, forward operations such as those in Afghanistan require a lot of logistical support—food, water, fuel, and supplies. It’s estimated that 70% of the convoys there are used to transport fuel or water. Reducing the amount of resources needed to carry out missions can result in a more flexible and effective fighting force. Everything from electrical generators to vehicles and aircraft is being looked at through the lens of fuel efficiency. And water reuse is essential in desert climates and aboard ships.
Even at bases here in the US, energy and water efficiency are focus areas. Using taxpayer dollars more effectively means that all federal facilities need to be run more efficiently. In late 2009, President Obama signed Executive Order 13514 which lays out energy and water efficiency goals for all federal facilities, and also requires purchase of environmentally-preferable supplies and implementation of sustainability strategies. An example of how this is being done is Fort Bliss, near El Paso, Texas. The base will be net zero in supplied energy and water, and will serve as a model for new and existing bases.
While I am not a military veteran, my father was, as are many of my co-workers at Kohler. Those of us who haven’t served in the military owe them so much more than we can ever express. While it’s not much, I want to say “thank you”, and I pray that all of our troops make it home safely.