Air Force going "Green and Clean"

  • Published
  • By Ryan Hansen
  • AFWA Public Affairs
Alternative fuels, energy conservation and environmental compliance issues were just a few of the topics covered during "The Air Force Goes Green and Clean" environmental symposium held here Aug. 14.

Air Force senior environmental leaders, academic professionals, architects, business leaders and members of the U.S. Green Building Council gave presentations, participated in a round table discussion and highlighted environmental issues currently being faced by both business and government agencies around the country.

"We wanted to communicate the full-spectrum of the Air Force's environmental perspectives and initiatives," said Lt. Col. Mark White, 170th Air Refueling Group commander, who helped organize the event. "A common theme amongst the participants in the symposium appeared to be a genuine interest in the Air Force's efforts in conserving our nation's resources, including our natural as well as financial resources, while defending the nation."

The symposium was one of many happenings held during Air Force Week in the Heartland, a week-long schedule celebration in the Omaha area aimed at showcasing the Air Force, its people and multiple missions with the local community.

"This was a tremendous event to have during Air Force week," said Maj. Gen. Michael K. Lynch, mobilization assistant to the commander of Air Combat Command, who participated in the round table discussion. "This was a great chance to get the community involved and show everyone what the Air Force has done, is doing and planning to do in the future in regards to the environment."

The symposium was held at the Air Force Weather Agency's new headquarters building. It is Air Force's latest and one of Air Combat Command's first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green rated facility designated by the U.S. Green Building Council.

"The federal government and the DOD are national leaders when it comes to green buildings," said Mr. Tim Hemsath, chairman of the U.S. Green Building Council Flatwater Chapter, who gave attendees a presentation on LEED facilities. "Education in this area is critical and events like this really provide a good opportunity for people to come together and learn about what is being done and what is available."

Other participants in the symposium included: Brig. Gen. Timothy A. Byers, ACC's director of installations and mission support, Dr. Alan Garscadden, chief scientist of the Air Force's propulsion directorate, Mr. Kenneth Hahn, architect of the new AFWA building, Mr. Jim Harford, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, and Mr. Eldon Hix, Air Force Center for Environment and Engineering.

"Equally important were the members of the audience representing Heartland academia, scientists, and engineers; green facility designers, builders, and operators; and compliance operators and regulators," Colonel White said. "During the symposium's round table forum, the interaction amongst the speakers and audience members capitalized on the strategic-to-local breadth of the forum."

The event concluded with tours of the AFWA headquarters building.

"This allowed our Heartland partners to get 'eyes on' a recent, relevant example of the Air Force's commitment to conserving our natural resources and was a fitting capstone to the overall forum," Colonel White said.