NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 22, 2022) – Earth Day provides an opportunity for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District to reflect on its efforts to preserve natural resources and the environment, for future generations to enjoy. It also provides an opportunity to reflect on the initiatives to create sustainable and environmentally friendly infrastructure across the district.
The Army-wide, Earth Day theme for 2022 is “A Partnership for our Planet,” reflecting on the commitment to collaborating with federal agencies, academia, and industry to evaluate climate, conservation, and species preservation. This commitment is emphasized throughout the Nashville District.
Nashville District Commander, Lt. Col. Joseph Sahl said, “Preserving and protecting the environment is not only part of the USACE mission, but part of our culture.”
In the upcoming months, visitors to Lake Cumberland will see how the culture of preservation is embodied through an initiative to further reduce energy consumption by installing two solar panel structures. John Friedman, Lake Cumberland’s resource manager says, “The addition of solar panels will offset a lot of the remaining energy consumption issues at Lake Cumberland.” Previous initiatives include the installation of no touch faucets, which conserve water by shutting down the valve once a person has left the sink, waterless urinals, automated thermostats, and timer driven LED lights in most facilities.
The new solar infrastructure will consist of a solar panel rooftop installed on the facility management office and a solar panel car port, with the infrastructure foundation, to support an electric car charging port.
The administration’s “Made in America” executive order, announced in January 2021, aims to prepare the federal government to embrace clean energy. “We are working to accelerate the current administration’s drive to transition the fleet in the federal government to electric vehicles,” says Friedman. The charging port is a crucial component to support the future of electric vehicles within the Nashville District.
Currently, the Nashville District has four standard hybrid sedans, but is preparing to transition the fleet. “In the next few months, the Nashville District office will receive its first “plug-in hybrid” vehicle,” said Ronnie Davis, fleet manager. The District is in the planning phase to prepare to receive the first fully electric vehicle. Theuron Owens, District Logistics manager says, “It’s exciting to know we’ll have an energy-efficient alternative in our fleet and eventually will have the capability across the district to care for the new electric vehicles.”
The Nashville District’s commitment to the environment doesn’t end at infrastructure and isn’t possible without community partnership and involvement. Environmental stewardship, a key tenet of USACE culture, helps the district build and maintain quality relationships in the community.
Throughout the year, the district partners with local marinas to host shoreline cleanups at the lakes. These cleanups are community efforts to remove debris and keep the area clean and safe for wildlife and recreation activities.
Attending a recent cleanup at Center Hill Lake, Lt. Col. Nathan Branen, Nashville District’s deputy commander said, “It’s important for the Corps to be good stewards of the public land. These cleanups not only allow us to fulfill our mission, but helps us instill the message of good stewardship of our district’s natural resources, to others in the community.”
While April 22 is the day set aside annually to observe Earth Day, the Nashville District practices an energy resilient mindset daily in its mission and core values. Energy resilient efforts benefit the Nashville District, USACE, and the Army as a whole, by saving money, resources, and manpower. These cost-saving initiatives ultimately benefit the community and visitors to the recreation areas. According to Friedman, “If these initiatives result in saving $1,000 on an electric bill, resource managers like me, can take the savings and allocate it to making improvements at our facilities, which at the end of the day, provides a better experience for our visitors.”
(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps