by Dave Smith
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
10/21/2015 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- It
is said the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, but
Peterson Air Force Base is being recognized for having less grass and
more rocks, among other environmentally sound practices.
The base is one of only 160 organizations in the state to be honored by
the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for outstanding
environmental achievements at the 16th Environmental Leadership Awards
on Oct. 16 at the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum in
Denver. The awards are given by the department in partnership with the
Pollution Prevention Advisory Board and the Colorado Environmental
"It's exciting," said Fred Brooks, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron,
environmental element chief. " I mean, it's the first time we were ever
involved with this, then to get accepted at the highest level, Gold, it
lets us showcase our efforts at Peterson. We are being recognized with
some of the most innovative companies in the state. It's prestigious
when you think of it in those terms."
The awards honor Colorado organizations with gold, silver or bronze
designations for voluntarily surpassing compliance with both state and
federal regulations, as well as commitment to continual environmental
improvement. A lengthy application demonstrating current and past
efforts is part of that process.
The award has some benefits beside the notoriety. One of the bigger ones
is some expedited permitting through the state, Brooks said. Another is
cross-knowledge and sharing of ideas. Rubbing shoulders with many
people who are innovative when it comes to energy conservation is a
Another, more noticeable, contributing project is related to water use
on Peterson AFB. Voluntary water restrictions saved 130 million gallons
of water, reducing water use intensity by 50 percent. A central
irrigation system saved another 300,000 gallons and $93,000 a year.
Xeriscaping and turf reduction resulted in 14 million more gallons in
savings to the tune of $43,000 in saved maintenance. The turf reduction
project was such a success that Air Force Space Command modeled a
command-wide conservation project after Peterson's.
In addition to the recent initiatives, Peterson has several goals to
continue improving environmental performance going forward, including
continued energy and water use reductions, deconstructing buildings
instead of demolishing, and achieving a 65 percent diversion rate of
solid waste by 2020, mainly through single stream recycling.