In recognition of its consistent and effective environmental operations, Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) was chosen by the Department of Defense (DoD) to receive the 2010 Environmental Award in the Sustainability – Industrial Installation category. Thirty-four installations from all four branches of the armed services competed in nine categories.
Representing the Navy, FRCSW competed against Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point, N.C., Letterkenny Army Depot in Pa., and the Defense Supply Center in Columbus, Ohio, in the final Sustainability – Industrial Installation category.
"Organizations like ours used to strictly concentrate on conforming to the law. That's called compliance. And in that regard, there are environmental, safety and other related compliance laws. But as organizations mature, they strive to exceed compliance. That effort evolves into what we call sustainability," said environmental engineer Mark Weir of the FRCSW Environmental Program Office (EPO). With a staff of 13, the FRCSW EPO is a branch of the industrial compliance operations department (ICOD) and handles the command's environmental programs ensuring that local, state and federal regulatory requirements are met.
FRCSW's environmental efforts are based on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001, a framework of 17 environmental management elements designed to work in concert with an organization's management processes.
Facilities registered to the ISO 14001 are regularly audited to monitor and document environmental improvements and performance. The EPO established an Environmental Management System (EMS) in 1999 when the command became the first federal facility to register to the ISO 14001 standard.
After nearly 11 years, ISO 14001 auditors from QMI-SAI Global determined that FRCSW‘s Environmental Management System had achieved full performance to the ISO standard — a significant measure of sustainability. To achieve the best possible results and to ensure its EMS consistently operates as intended, FRCSW augments QMI's external audits with internal audit "sorties" of its own, usually targeting a single department at a time.
"Audit sorties are performed once a week. We'll pick a shop and look at how well they are conforming to the 17 elements of the ISO 14001. Then we generate an audit report and document any nonconformances," said deputy director for ICOD Michele Marien.
"Typically, we don't have a lot of non-conformance issues, but we'll have a lot of 'opportunities for improvement,' which means conformance to the standard, but that there are better ways to meet that requirement. The idea is to take the procedures that work best and spread them around. It's another way to build continuous improvement," Marien said.
During fiscal year (FY) 2009, FRCSW continued to garnish improvement in environmental stewardship and financial performance. Costs for the command's environmental programs were 16 percent less than those for FY 2008. In addition, the command's environmental stewardship program received no notices of violation or nonconformance during fiscal years 2008 and 2009. Further, FRCSW reduced its water consumption by 10 percent, industrial waste water by 18 percent, and hazardous waste was reduced by 7 percent. By streamlining and consolidating its waste collection and disposal procedures during FY 2009, the command reduced waste disposal by 50,000 pounds annually.
FRCSW projects targeting energy reduction in FY 2010 include: high bay lighting replacements throughout the command which will save an estimated $160,000; heating, air conditioning and ventilation upgrades that will reduce energy consumption by approximately $600,000; and reduction in air pollutant emissions by two tons per year through substituting ingredients currently used in paint stripping tanks.
"Our environmental achievements and selection to receive the DoD 2010 Environmental Award is a direct reflection on the culture of this command. It's a culture of innovation and continuous improvement that constantly strives to achieve better results," Marien said.
The DoD award presentations were made by Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III in a ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., on June 2. The federal government "is committed to curbing greenhouse gas emissions, using renewable energy resources and promoting sustainable environmental stewardship," Lynn said at the ceremony.
Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Ashton B. Carter, who also was at the ceremony, recognized the efforts made by all the services to reduce fuel consumption.
As Navy's premier West Coast aircraft repair and maintenance facility, FRCSW maintains, modifies, or repairs more than 275 Navy and Marine Corps aircraft annually, including F/A-18 Hornet fighters, E-2C Hawkeye airborne early warning planes, C-2A Greyhound transports; and CH-53 Super Stallion and H-60 Sea Hawk helicopters.
For more information, contact the Fleet Readiness Center Southwest public affairs office at (619) 545-3415.