GLRPPR Sector Resource: Net Zero Fort Carson: Integrating Energy, Water, and Waste Strategies to Lower the Environmental Impact of a Military Base
Net Zero Fort Carson: Integrating Energy, Water, and Waste Strategies to Lower the Environmental Impact of a Military Base
Military bases resemble small cities and face similar sustainability challenges. As pilot studies in the U.S. Army Net Zero program, 17 locations are moving to 100% renewable energy, zero depletion of water resources, and/or zero waste to landfill by 2020. Some bases target net zero in a single area, such as water, whereas two bases, including Fort Carson, Colorado, target net zero in all three areas. We investigated sustainability strategies that appear when multiple areas (energy, water, and waste) are integrated. A system dynamics model is used to simulate urban metabolism through Fort Carson's energy, water, and waste systems. Integrated scenarios reduce environmental impact up to 46% from the 2010 baseline, whereas single-dimension scenarios (energy-only, water-only, and waste-only) reduce impact, at most, 20%. Energy conserving technologies offer mutual gains, reducing annual energy use 18% and water use 15%. Renewable energy sources present trade-offs: Concentrating solar power could supply 11% of energy demand, but increase water demand 2%. Waste to energy could supply 40% of energy demand and reduce waste to landfill >80%, but increase water demand between 1% and 22% depending on cooling system and waste tonnage. Outcomes depend on how the Fort Carson system is defined, because some components represent multiple net zero areas (food represents waste and energy), and some actions require embodied resources (energy generation potentially requires water and off-base feedstock). We suggest that integrating multiple net zero goals can lead to lower environmental impact for military bases.
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Journal of Industrial Ecology, online ahead of print
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