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Army Green: 5 Ways the Military Will Lighten Its Carbon Load

I don't know why I'd never thought about the military as a progressive force for change until I read this, but it makes sense: racial integration and that miracle we call the internet both marched out of the military. Now, one more modern change is coming — the military is going greener than fatigues!

The Department of Defense is responsible for over 1.5 percent of all US energy consumption, and it's now looking (prepare for the most overused phrase in "eco" . . . "journalism") to green up its act. (At least I spared you a "Red, White, and Green" joke — this time.) To see five ways the military and Department of Defense hope to cut bills and conserve energy on their new mission to save the planet,


  1. Create portable solar and wind power stations for emergencies like Hurricane Katrina.
  2. Fuel Air Force planes with biofuel.
  3. Develop hybrid military vehicles.
  4. Install solar panels on air-base buildings.
  5. Spray tents with foam insulation (hold your breath!) to reduce heating and air-conditioning needs.

The foam insulation alone has cut energy use by 45 percent. Is this money well spent? Is the military the perfect place to nurture environmental advances or do reports like these camouflage eco-deficiencies in other areas of government?

Join The Conversation
stephley stephley 8 years
Ew, I never took the lowest bidder factor to food Foxie - you're right, that is not the place to go cheap.
foxie foxie 8 years
I also wish the military, and the government in general, would purchase meat products from responsible sources. As it is now, the government buys meat from the lowest bidder (factory farms), which means the lowest quality AND the least responsible as far as its treatment to animals. If we purchased from only responsible farms, we'd seriously cripple factory farms, help the environment, AND stop feeding our soldiers crap all at once. Well... meat is crap anyways, but at least it would be less crappy crap.
sldc sldc 8 years
*on a large scale
sldc sldc 8 years
Yeah, biofuel in a large scale was a bad idea from the start. Growing energy should be left for food. While I applaud many of the efforts, I think this is more about conserving resources and being independent of foreign municipal electricity (or generators) than saving the earth or some eco-agenda. I am pretty sure enriched uranium does not come in "eco" form.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
No sorry UnDave cell phones came from Star Trek, LOL! This is fantastic and this is to be expected. I only wish that we would stop stepping into the future ever so gingerly as though we were walking on egg shells. The faster we implement the more energy we can save.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
I agree that it makes sense for the army to look for ways to reduce their spending and do R&D on solar and wind. Most of our everyday items (cell phones, navigation systems, remote control devices) have their beginnings in military use. The insulation sounds good in a long term bunkhouse, but seems innefficient for daily use, where you need to take down and put the tent back up later.
stephley stephley 8 years
In theory it's money well spent - but with the military's long history of paying outrageous amounts for things like screwdrivers and toilet seats and for making contractors rich, it'll be way too much money spent. And I'm not sure I give them kudos for leading the way - solar and wind power sources have been around for decades as has environmentally friendly insulation. But it's a good idea.
kia kia 8 years
It makes long-term economic and security sense for the military to utilize alternative technologies for how much energy they use and how they get around. My only criticism on this list is the use of biofuels. I think they are dangerous in how they are pushing integral parts of our food economy into the fuel economy.
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