War on Terrorism

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Energy Efficiency Helps Environment, Saves Money in Iraq

By Christen N. McCluney
Special to American Forces Press Service

Aug. 27, 2009 - Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq officials are working to boost energy efficiency in the Iraqi infrastructure to help the environment and boost cost savings, command officials said. Energy efficiency affects the environment by reducing air pollution and the economy by reducing fuel costs.

"Since energy impacts the environment and the economy, it makes sense to ensure that the construction of the Iraqi security infrastructure is done in the most energy-efficient manner. This will properly set the conditions needed to encourage cost savings and employ sound environmental practices," Air Force Lt. Col. Thomas N. Williams Jr., chief of planning for the command's engineering directorate, said yesterday during a "DoDLive" bloggers roundtable from Baghdad.

The initiatives include training Iraqi forces to boost their environmental efficiency by performing proper maintenance on vehicles and power generators, Williams said. By doing so, he explained, they will burn less oil, which will increase cost efficiency and decrease pollutants in the environment. Other training includes fuel consumption reduction, load balancing, preventive maintenance, leak detection, proper collection and disposal of used oil and hazardous material handling procedures.

"Trying to manage resources and use them carefully has a positive impact on the economy and the environment," Williams said.

Iraqis are seeing the effects of drought on their agriculture, Williams said, and need to be attentive to irrigation. They also are beginning to realize the impact of dumping oil and waste products in water instead of recycling or properly disposing of them.

"Energy is a nonrenewable resource, so you do want to manage it as carefully as possible," he said. "The better we manage it now and the more energy efficient we are now, the longer we have it to set up more secure infrastructures."

Williams added command officials are working to train Iraqis to maintain facilities so their efforts continue long after U.S. forces depart the country. By keeping the focus on energy efficiency, he said, the work will have a long-lasting impact.

"When you look at the three E's --energy, environment and economy -- they are very interactive and complementary to each other," he said. "We think that concentrating on the energy aspect will have a bigger impact on the other two."

Along with helping to build Iraqi infrastructure, Williams said, energy efficiency also will help to keep the gains already made with Iraqi security.

(Christen N. McCluney works in the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.)

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