The U.S. Coast Guard is scheduled to open its first Landfill Gas Renewable Energy Center on April 22, at the Coast Guard Yard, 2401 Hawkins Point Road, Baltimore, Md., as part of its Earth Day Celebration.
"As America's Maritime Guardians, not only do we protect the environment through our operations, but we strive to protect the environment in the way we carry out our missions as an organization and as individuals," said Rear Adm. Thomas P. Ostebo, the Coast Guard’s Assistant Commandant for Engineering and Logistics and Environmental Executive. "The Coast Guard is actively finding innovative ways to reduce, reuse, recycle, adopt green procurement objectives, and seek forms of alternative and renewable energy as a response to greenhouse gases."
The Coast Guard is seeking to improve the environment by reducing its environmental footprint. Ten years ago the Coast Guard's environmental policies were focused on basic compliance and restoration. The Coast Guard has now shifted from the basic compliance and restoration paradigm to one of sustainability. The Coast Guard prides itself in the increase of applications of the Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program in new construction designs. The Coast Guard's National Maritime Center located in Martinsburg, W. Va., achieved a silver certification through the U.S. Green Building Council and was specifically recognized for conserving energy and for being a high-performance, sustainable building. Some of the unique features of this green building are the reduction of electrical usage and water consumption; the use of eco friendly materials in the construction and operation of the building; and an aggressive recycling program.
Additional Coast Guard green initiatives undertaken during the last year include:
• Cadets at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., created a network to reduce, reuse, and recycle; such as reducing paper and Styrofoam waste; testing methods to reduce water consumption; and recycling electronics and electrical devices.
• Air Station Sitka, Alaska completed a Facility Energy Efficiency Fund project that targeted several savings programs in lighting energy. They installed new lighting systems in all work areas, including a 66,250 square foot aircraft hanger, and replaced standard light switches with motion detector switches.
• Instead of renovating the Coast Guard innovated Station Emerald Isle, N.C., using recycled products such as overhead doors (60% recycled product); gypsum panels (100% recycled product); steel doors (35% recycled product).
• Electronic Systems Sustainment Detachment, Southwest Harbor, Maine, installed a centralized Renewable Energy Uninterruptible Power Supply (REUPS) that generates electrical power by wind and solar energy. The command has successfully reduced its dependence on commercial energy supply by approximately 43 percent.
• In Feb. 2008, a new small arms firing range in Integrated Support Command Honolulu, Hawaii was the first in the Coast Guard to be designated as a “reduced hazard ammunition” facility. The facility requires that only lead free ammunition is used, which significantly reduces the environmental impact of operating a firing range.
During the week of April 16-22, various Coast Guard units have coordinated volunteer events to celebrate Earth Day. These include beach and harbor clean-ups to remove trash and harmful materials, tree-plantings and promoting awareness about our environment.