Fort Riley, Kansas



Post briefs environmental protection, enhancement efforts to visiting European student leaders

By Mike Heronemus | 1ST INF. DIV. POST | August 05, 2014

Nineteen students from 13 foreign countries and the United States learned about some post environmental stewardship efforts during a visit to Fort Riley July 21.

The students were part of a European Student Leaders Summer Institute program being conducted for five weeks at Kansas State University. The program is sponsored jointly by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Exchange and the Fullbright Commission.

Foreign students participating in this year’s summer program represented Belgium, Greenland/Denmark, Iceland, Germany, France, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Portugal, Spain, Romania, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Their look at U.S. environmental issues and improvement programs brought them to KSU two weeks ago. They have two more weeks at KSU and will then wrap up their summer with a week in Washington.

Fort Riley’s role in this year’s institute was to show the students how the post works to protect and enhance the natural environment of the installation’s training and cantonment areas and its hazardous waste management and recycling programs.

British Army Brigadier Christoper Ghika, 1st Infantry Division deputy commanding general for readiness, greeted the university students majoring in environmental science and assured them that their field is something taken very seriously at Fort Riley.

Ghika is serving with the U.S. Army’s 1st Inf. Div. as part of a two-year military officer exchange program between the U.S. and the United Kingdom armies.

Garrison Commander Col. Andrew Cole, Jr., followed Ghika’s explanation of the 1st Infantry Division’s military organization and missions with some specific information about the environmental efforts on the post.

“Fort Riley has 30 buildings that are (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified, Cole said. Buildings that earn LEED certification have incorporated best-in-class building strategies and practices to optimize energy efficiency.

One way to optimize that efficiency, Cole explained, is by providing each building manager phone apps that allow them to remotely adjust building temperatures depending on building occupancy. Temperatures can be raised or lowered depending on the comfort needs of people in the buildings or when the buildings are vacant.

He also pointed out one effort at energy conservation mounted solar panels onto a large carport’s roof as a way to generate efficient energy for the nearby building.

Using state of the art HUMVEE, Abrams tank, Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle and helicopter simulators for early stages of training reduces damage to Fort Riley’s training terrain, Cole said. That also saves the fuel needed to power vehicles and cuts down on fuel emissions and wear and tear on the vehicles themselves, he added.

Garrison Command Sergeant Major Jason Schmidt fielded one student’s question about expended ammunition casings, saying Fort Riley recovers those expended casings and turns them in for reuse by the Army.

Residential recycling is an “opt-in” program at Fort Riley.  Cole said in response to a student’s question about whether recycling was mandatory on post.

Commanders, however, can order recycling in their unit and an installation program gives monetary rewards to units turning in the most recyclables, he said. Unit commanders can use those monetary rewards for activities to improve soldier morale.

The ultimate goal at Fort Riley is to manage the post’s environmental impact in such a way as “to enhance Fort Riley for the Army … There has been an evolving environmental ethos in the Army. We now realize that what we do on Fort Riley not only affects soldiers training today but soldiers and families here in the future,” summarized Herb Abel, head of the Environmental Division in the Directorate of Public Works at Fort Riley. 
Tag Conservation   Tag Environmental