How can communities reduce their water, waste, and energy footprints? How can they promote sustainable strategies at the local level while simultaneously fostering economic growth and promoting citizen health and well-being? I was recently given the opportunity to consider these questions alongside EPA scientists and community leaders and while observing cutting edge sustainability work.
This week, EPA scientists and community leaders from across the country came together at the Feb. 25-26 workshop “Promoting Sustainability through Net Zero Strategies.”
The workshop builds on the success of EPA’s Net Zero partnership with the U.S. Army. Started in 2011, the partnership aims to develop and demonstrate sustainable technologies and approaches in support of the Army’s ambitious goal to achieve net zero energy and water consumption, and create no waste on its installations. Hence, the name: “Net Zero.”
Successful technology demonstrations from this effort are expected to provide real world solutions to the U.S. military, as well as communities and municipalities across the country.
Under this cross-agency, transdisciplinary partnership, EPA scientists and engineers are working with the U.S. Army, the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers, U.S. Geological Survey, Kansas State University, and private industry to identify and demonstrate innovative water technologies and approaches for achieving net zero goals on the Fort Riley, Kansas Army installation.
I was honored to kick off the workshop held at our Research Triangle Park, N.C. facility, and to be joined by U.S. Representative David Price and Katherine Hammack, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment.
In addition to the workshop, we toured the Research Triangle Park campus and were given a demonstration of EPA’s NetZero energy conservation efforts.
The event provided a great opportunity for community leaders and EPA to come together to share lessons learned from similar net zero efforts unfolding in local communities across the country — including successes, challenges, and needs. The long-term objective is to help communities become more sustainable and resilient through the development and deployment of net zero strategies and technologies.
By pooling federal, state, and local expertise and resources, and by setting specific goals such as net zero waste, water and energy, EPA and our partners anticipate that the strategies we are developing will have real impact for local communities — simultaneously promoting economic growth and fostering citizen health and well-being.