Beaufort News

Parris Island receives energy award

It might be the Beaufort area's oldest military base, but Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island has again been recognized for being ahead of the times in energy and water efficiency.

During a ceremony in Washington, D.C., last week, Parris Island officials were presented with the secretary of the Navy's Energy and Water Management Award. The depot was one of only two Marine Corps installations recognized for "exemplary achievement in energy and water efficiency, and use of renewable energy sources" during the 2009 fiscal year, according to the Navy.

In addition to winning $30,000 and being recognized as a leader in the Navy's push to become more energy-efficient, the depot also is authorized to fly a special secretary of the Navy energy flag for a year.

"It's quite an honor," said Richard Pierce, Parris Island's energy manager.

It is the second year in a row that Parris Island has received the award. The depot was honored last year for reducing its overall energy use by 14 percent since 2003 and its water use by 15 percent since 2007.

Pierce said reducing energy consumption at the 95-year-old base is challenging because of the depot's aging infrastructure.

"It's difficult, to say the least, but we've had complete command support," Pierce said. "The credit really belongs to the Marines and sailors who work on Parris Island. They are the ones who turn off the lights and computers at the end of the day and really take energy efficiency and conservation seriously. They are the reason we won again."

Energy efficiency will continue to be emphasized at Parris Island and all other Marine Corps and Navy installations, according to Navy officials.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has said he hopes to cut the force's oil use in half and to see half of all bases powered by renewable energy sources by 2020.