Science Wednesday: Net Zero

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By Leslie Gillespie-Marthaler

As someone who has spent time on military installations and has a great respect for the Army community, I’m thrilled to be helping the Army work toward “Net Zero” and sustainability.

I’ve lived on installations myself, and know firsthand that they are very much like small cities. With thousands of soldiers, civilians and families on base, they face many of the same challenges that cities around the country are facing, including increased energy costs, limited water resources and aging infrastructure. For example, last year Army installations used 41.8 billion gallons of potable water at a cost of $67.4 million.

To help combat these challenges, EPA and the Department of the Army have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to advance the Army’s Net Zero Initiative.

The goal of the Initiative is to ensure that Army installations only consume as much energy and water as they produce and minimize waste sent to landfills. EPA scientists and engineers will provide their skills and expertise to bring cutting-edge research assistance to the effort.

I was happy to be on hand this week when Paul Anastas, PhD, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Research and Development and Science Advisor at EPA, signed the MOU with the Honorable Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and the Environment.

“The Net Zero partnership was inspired by the Army’s ability to demonstrate true leadership in sustainability,” said Anastas. “The Army Installations are a test bed for new technologies that can solve more than one problem and can be replicated or scaled for communities throughout the nation.”

“We look forward to working with Army experts to develop tools and technologies to address some of our more pressing economic and environmental challenges,” he added.

“Through a whole-of-government approach to sustainability, the Army’s Net Zero Initiative increases the Army’s ability to be successful today and into the future. Our collaboration with EPA’s Office of Research and Development brings leading-edge research assistance together to advance both our institutions’ goals for increased resource efficiency and balanced resource use,” said Hammack.

Anastas emphasized how the Army’s and EPA’s goals are intricately interconnected: “You are protecting the nation. We are helping make the nation worth protecting,” he said.

I feel it’s both a privilege and an honor to help incredible Army communities and their neighbors achieve “Net Zero.”

About the author: A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Leslie Gillespie-Marthaler, is currently a senior advisor in EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.