District, LDP marching toward a more sustainable future

Published March 25, 2013
Walla Walla District - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Walla Walla District - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Members of Walla Walla’s Leadership Development Program (LDP) are helping the District march toward a more sustainable future.

Curtis Been, Dean Holecek, Scott Hall and John Lomeland are devising plans to address the District’s water, vehicle and electricity use.

“We focused on areas where data is available,” said Dean Holecek. “While these green initiatives all have a feel good component, it was very clear to us early on that we need to be able to quantify where we are and where we need to go. We’ve come up with the focus on water, power, fuel and a general sustainability focus to tie up the loose ends.”  

Executive Order (EO) 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, states that sustainability “means to create and maintain conditions, under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations.”

The EO emphasizes that sustainability should not only be a natural part of all the Corps’ decision processes, but should also be part of our organizational culture.  

Been, a civil engineer in Geotechnical Design, is helping determine if the District is over applying water faster than the soil can absorb it. He worked for the Natural Resource Service in the past and “half my job was doing irrigation water management plans for farmers and irrigators,” he said.

“The District Headquarters uses 70,000 gallons per month through the year and up to 1,000,000 gallons per month this summer,” he said, “but it appears that the irrigation use is high, so modifying our procedures may save two million gallons per year.”

Regarding fuel, “the District fleet used over 100,000 gallons of petroleum this last fiscal year,” Holecek said. “That equates to about $425,000 at $4 per gallon. Reducing that use is going to require a District-wide effort.”

“We want everyone to think about the most efficient vehicle they can use and the most efficient ways to meet their missions in respect to travel,” he said.

“For instance, making sure we’re not sending four or five partially filled vehicles to the same meeting is a good place to start. Also, do we have the most efficient fleet composition to meet our needs? We’ll be working with the Vehicle Fleet dispatch system to help us meet our goals. But we’ll need help from a lot of people and organizations to achieve our goals,” he added.

Jon Lomeland said the Headquarters Building uses use nearly two million kilowatt hours of electricity in fiscal year 2012, costing $147,385. He encourages building residents to try and do their part with the little things such as “turn off their individual space

heaters, lights when there not needed, and for coffee-users with their own coffee pots, consider using collective coffee pots instead of having an individual one. As public stewards we should pick up the baton and move this forward.”

“We’re just a small group in LDP, but there are many interested people around the District who are making a difference,” said Scott Hall. “It takes everyone’s effort to buy-in. This is critical because it requires a process change for our employees to take hold. We want this to carry forward so everyone can see the benefits.”

Anyone wishing to join the District’s Sustainability efforts should contact Curtis Been, Dean Holecek, Scott Hall or John Lomeland.