Like the Rest of the Military, the U.S. Coast Guard Is Going 'Green'

By Eric Beidel

TAMPA, Fla. - On the exhibit floor of this year's Coast Guard's innovation expo, the carpet turns green without notice.
The service is using this patch of carpet to advertise initiatives to reduce its energy consumption. One of the proudest men standing on the green floor was Cmdr. Jeffrey Good, facilities engineering officer at the Coast Guard's training installation in Petaluma, Calif.
Good explained that the service is in the second phase of a four-year project at Petaluma to save energy and conserve water. The first year saw solar panels cover four acres of land and several rooftops. The center is using solar power to operate streetlights and a security gate.
Currently, the center is conducting an audit of potential leaks in the pipes that pump water in, seven miles from town, as well as the electrical systems in all of the buildings on base. There already have been “low-flow” urinals installed that the Coast Guard says will reduce water use by 1.5 million gallons this year. The service says that the four-acre solar field will cut carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions by 2 million pounds each year.
In year four of the program, Good said the center will use solar hot water for the 127 housing units and begin composting to create fertilizer for groundskeepers.
Good did not stand alone on the green carpet. Other Coast Guard initiatives highlighted included:
Saving $10,000 a year by “de-lamping” vending machines in Honolulu.Scraping together money by doing away with old cell phones and government vehicles to create a 15-kilowatt solar array in San Francisco.Retrofitting two cutters with LED lighting.A project with Baltimore to power generators with methane captured from the city landfill.Most of the Coast Guard's environmental efforts have happened ashore. Capt. John Hickey said that service leaders are working to bring these energy-conscious ideas aboard ships and aircraft. The Coast Guard’s tactical vehicles are exempt from the provisions of an executive order signed by President Obama last year aimed at reducing the federal government's greenhouse gas emissions.

Topics: Energy, Alternative Energy, Energy Security, Power Sources

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