Fort Lewis Initiates Comprehensive Energy Plan

August 1, 2002

As part of the U.S. Army's Forces Command (FORSCOM) Installation Sustainability Program, Fort Lewis, Washington, has begun plans for a long-term "Infrastructure/Energy Initiative." Elements of the infrastructure strategy for Fort Lewis include:

  • replacing or modernizing substandard facilities;
  • limiting development and preserving environmental, historical, and cultural resources; and
  • preserving the unique natural and architectural atmosphere of the installation.

Fort Lewis' energy goals are ambitious, and include sustaining all activities on base using renewable energy sources and generating all electricity on site by 2025. Most construction and energy-related projects on base are focused on military housing. During the next 10 years, Fort Lewis will be constructing new barracks to meet the requirements of two Army brigades. The buildings will be built according to more exacting energy efficiency requirements than previous facilities and will be 25 percent more efficient than existing structures.

In 2003, all new barracks facilities will be constructed to at least a "silver" rating under the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Sustainable Project Rating Tool (SPiRiT). The Army's SPiRiT rating system, initiated in June 2001, is an adaption of the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED™) Building Rating System. SPiRiT includes additional rating factors appropriate to military projects and facilities. Projects are rated for sustainability in eight facility categories:

  • sustainable sites,
  • water efficiency,
  • energy and atmosphere,
  • materials and resources,
  • indoor environmental quality,
  • facility delivery process,
  • current mission, and
  • future missions.

Four SPiRiT levels can be achieved based on the rating points earned:

  • Bronze - 25 to 34 points,
  • Silver - 35 to 49 points,
  • Gold - 50 to 74 points, or
  • Platinum - 75 points.

Beginning in 2004, Fort Lewis' new barracks projects will be considered for photovoltaic roofing or solar systems, green roofs, distributed energy systems, and other renewables features. These systems will help new facilities become more self-sustaining.

Fort Lewis plans to formalize their base-wide Installation Sustainability Program including individual action plans, such as the Infrastructure/Energy Initiative, by the end of this year, so that the actual short-term and long-range implementations can begin in 2003 and beyond. These tasks will be accomplished with the help of Advisory and Gateway Community-based groups and task forces, consistent with available resources and Army missions.

Fort Lewis is also committed to educating base personnel about energy and environmental sustainability. The Fort Lewis Public Works web site contains energy tips, recycling information, and guidelines for efficient energy and water use. The Fort also provides monthly conservation seminars to educate troop units on conservation techniques.

The primary Fort Lewis maneuver units are the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, and the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. Fort Lewis is home to more than 25,000 soldiers and family members.

For more information on Fort Lewis' Sustainability Program, please contact Charles Howell of Fort Lewis Army Installation at 253-967-2837 or howellc@lewis.army.mil or Arun Jhaveri of DOE's Seattle Regional Office at 206-553-2152 or arun.jhaveri@ee.doe.gov.