Monday, March 30, 2009

Greening the Pentagon

Did you know that the military's reducing fuel consumption by just 1% means it needs to deploy 6,400 fewer soldiers in transport convoys -- a favorite target of insurgents?

Or that a $3 gallon of fuel can end up costing $28, after accounting for transportation and security costs?

The US military is urgently looking into ways to cut its energy usage, after spending $13 billion on energy in 2007 and requesting an additional $5 billion because of the rise in energy prices. It is partnering with private firms that can help it achieve its energy-saving goals, and is in the market for a large number of products, from smart batteries to synthetic fuels to lighter paint.

Because of the scale of the military's operations, even small efficiencies translate to huge savings of dollars.

For example, spraying tents with a hard foam reduces fuel consumption for heating or cooling, and saves an estimated 100,000 gallons of fuel or $2 million per day.

Eliminating 100 lbs. from the Air Force's cargo fleet saves 1 million lbs. of fuel per year.

And so on.

As the military goes about its mission of finding ways to conserve greater amounts of energy, we can be sure of two things.

One, it will succeed. And two, we will all be the beneficiaries.

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