Parris Island depot wins award for saving water and energy

Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island was honored last week for being one of six bases that helped the Navy save 2 billion gallons of water and $31 million in utility costs this year through energy efficiency and water management.

Col. Rickey Grabowksi, Parris Island's chief of staff, traveled to Washington last week to accept the Secretary of the Navy's Energy and Water Management Award on behalf of the base.

Parris Island received the award after the base reduced its overall energy use by 14 percent since 2003 and its water use by 15 percent since 2007, according to Naval Facilities Engineering Command. The depot also gave out 212 compact fluorescent, energy-efficient light bulbs this year as part of "Operation Change-Out," a Defense Department initiative aimed at increasing energy efficiency in base housing.

In addition to being recognized as a leader in the Navy's push to become more energy-efficient, the depot is also authorized to fly a special Secretary of the Navy energy flag for a year.

"The Energy and Water Management Award not only highlighted the achievements of the depot's energy team but it also recognized the long-term commitment of the Marine Corps to be good stewards of the environment," said Lt. Sharon Hyland, Parris Island spokeswoman.

Energy efficiency will continue to play a large role in Navy and Marine Corps operations in light of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus' announcement last month that he hopes to see the force's oil use cut in half and have half of all bases powered by renewable energy sources by 2020.

Mabus also announced that the Navy has begun testing an engine powered by biofuels for the F/A-18 Hornet, the same fighter jet flown by pilots at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. The jet, dubbed the "Green Hornet," could be deployed by 2016, Mabus said.