News: USACE Environmental chief visits Southern Arizona
TUCSON, Ariz. - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District hosted Dr. Christine Altendorf, the USACE Environmental Division chief during a two-day visit Aug. 29-30 to the southern Arizona area.
“It was a great honor for the Tucson Resident Office team to be able to host Dr. Altendorf's visit to our area of responsibility,” said Jesse W. Laurie, a project manager in the Formerly Used Defense Sites program at the TRO. “Dr. Altendorf is the first [Senior Executive Service] member from USACE Headquarters to visit us here.”
On her first day, Altendorf toured District projects in the Fort Huachuca area. There, she spoke with the garrison commander and had the opportunity to see how the Corps is working to create more sustainable projects at the post. She also visited Col. Smith Middle School on the post. The school, which officially opened in early August, is touted as “Arizona’s first net-zero school.”
During her stop at the Tucson area on her second day, Altendorf visited Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and spoke with the wing commander there. She also visited the new barracks built by the L.A. District. The barracks received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for sustainability designs throughout the facility. Altendorf said the Corps is always on the lookout for new ideas and ways to increase energy independence.
“This is a National priority and our customers are demanding more sustainable products and services,” she said. “The Corps is always looking for ways to be good stewards of the Nation’s resources, whether those resources are natural, financial or social. Reducing energy consumption will reduce operating costs, reduce dependence on foreign oil, reduce impacts on the climate and attract future talent by creating a culture committed to sustainability.”
To create a culture of sustainability, the Corps has introduced a series of sustainability initiatives. Altendorf said among the proposals for internal operations and infrastructure, the Corps is focused on reducing energy intensity by 30 percent from a Fiscal Year 2003 baseline, reducing water intensity by 26 percent from a FY 2007 baseline, reducing non-tactical vehicle petroleum consumption by 30 percent from a FY 2005 baseline, and reducing greenhouse gas scope One and Two emissions by 23 percent from a FY 2008 baseline.
“Within our internal operations and infrastructure, we have established our baselines and apportioned goals out to our Major Subordinate Commands – so each commander has a clearly defined share of the overall Corps goal,” Altendorf explained. “We are training energy managers, working to complete energy and water evaluations at our largest facilities and developing a metering strategy. We are also implementing alternative financing tools, such as Energy Savings Performance Contracts, where third parties implement energy and water conservation measures in our facilities and get paid back from the savings that the improvements generate.”
Throughout the visit, Altendorf had high praise for the work being done by District members. Laurie said the visit required significant coordination throughout the area and said he appreciated the work done behind the scenes by Corps members and by members of the area military installations.
“Dr. Altendorf's visit was a great example of a combined team in action,” Laurie said. “The success of her visit required close coordination between several Corps districts ... USACE Headquarters... [and the installations].”
Altendorf said the District is right on track with Corps-wide initiatives. She said the projects at Fort Huachuca are keeping in line with how the Corps, as a whole, should be caring for its military customers.
“L.A. is doing a great job on supporting the Army and Air Force,” she said. “What we must do now is focus on our own backyard and really look at what can be done with Corps property [vehicles and buildings] to reduce energy usage. The Corps as a whole is lagging on our Office of Management and Budget sustainability metrics and it is going to take each person at every district to be aware and involved for us to move forward.”