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Yuma air station energy program earns SecNav honorable mention

27 Aug 2009 | Lance Cpl. Austin Hazard

The air station won a blue-level achievement award for a well-rounded energy program for the 2009 Secretary of the Navy Energy and Water Management Awards, which were announced in All Navy Message 52/09 Aug. 14, 2009.

Blue level recognition identifies overall significant achievement in energy and water management.

Installations were judged on their energy policy, energy training, new and nontraditional initiatives, energy and water management practices, energy awareness programs, as well as energy and water reduction results.

Although the station’s energy reduction has not seen major improvements, its recent water conservation efforts have been very effective.

“A large part of our success in water management is from xeriscaping,” said Cmdr. Jake Ellwood, installations and logistics director. “We’ve substantially reduced our water use by replacing high-maintenance plants with desert plant life, which doesn’t need as much water.”

These improvements to the station’s water conservation efforts also contributed to the station receiving a 2008 Secretary of the Navy Environmental Award in April.

The energy and water management awards comprise four levels of achievement, starting with the winners and going down to platinum, gold and blue level.

Ellwood believes the station might have received a higher level of achievement if its energy efforts were further along.

“We’re currently working toward energy reduction through solar panels, but it’s still in the beginning stages,” said Ellwood. “It hasn’t been able to impact us enough yet to win an award.”

“My experience with Yuma has been very favorable,” said Rhonda Stewart, energy and water management awards coordinator. “Yuma is always really out in front, trying to implement new ways to save energy and water.”

The station, along with Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., MCAS Cherry Point, N.C., MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga., Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Marine Barracks 8th & I in Washington, D.C., and others, will receive certificates of achievement.

MCAS Miramar, Calif., and MCRD Parris Island, S.C., were two of seven top-level award winners, receiving $45,000 and $30,000, respectively, for their accomplishments.

The platinum level installations and ships each received $5,000 for outstanding energy programs.

The gold level included Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., MCB Camp Pendleton, Calif., MCB Hawaii Kaneohe Bay and Naval Air Facility El Centro, Calif.

The top award winners and platinum installations are invited to be recognized at the award ceremony at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C., Oct. 27 and are permitted to fly the secretary of the Navy energy flag for one year. Gold installations are also invited to the ceremony.

“Most of the 120 bases in the Navy and Marine Corps were not named in these awards. So even receiving the blue level is an accomplishment to be proud of,” said Bill Taylor, Naval Facilities Engineering Command energy director.

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