It’s not just the uniforms that are green in the Army. The U.S. Army has been leading the way in sustainable design and construction on many of their bases and facilities. Beginning with the FY08 Military Construction Program, the Army transitioned from using the building guidelines found in the Sustainable Project Rating Tool (SPiRiT) to the guidelines outlined by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program in Army military construction projects. Since that time, military facilities all over the country have been built or updated using LEED guidelines, and it is not uncommon to find that these facilities have achieved Silver, Gold, or Platinum certification status through LEED.
Burns & McDonnell took charge of six design-build initiatives at the Marshall Army Airfield Campus at Fort Riley in Kansas, earning Silver certification by using techniques such as sustainable material selection and reusing stormwater runoff in the facilities. The buildings were also outfitted with energy-efficient lighting and temperature controls, and designed to include outdoor congregation and fitness areas.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is utilizing LEED protocol while building the new U.S. Department of Defense military office complex in Virginia, with the goal of having the entire complex achieve Gold certification status from LEED by its September 2011 completion. The USACE is implementing sustainable design features in the complex, including a new and more efficient heating and cooling system, a retention pond to collect stormwater to be used for irrigation, and LED light fixtures.
When Fort Belvoir’s Fairfax Village Neighborhood Center opened its doors in 2009, it became the first military building project to receive Platinum certification status from LEED. By utilizing a geothermal heat system, solar panels, efficient lighting and temperature controls, low volatile organic building materials, and recycled material for the playground, the center achieved a 70 percent reduction in energy costs and 43 percent water savings in comparison to similar buildings.
The military’s use of LEED guidelines is not limited to building projects stateside; the USACE hopes to have 64 building projects in Germany LEED-certified by FY13. Though it is not always easy being “green,” the U.S. military has clearly made it a priority.