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As Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, moves toward being fully enduring, expeditionary and temporary facilities will be removed and replaced with permanent structures. Photos courtesy of CH2M HILL

Sustainability and Net Zero are interrelated but not interdependent; achieving one does not assuredly result in achieving the other. In general terms, sustainability applies to all installations while Net Zero is going “above and beyond” for select installations. The Camp Arifjan Net Zero Plan explains what each of these terms mean and how they apply to U.S. Army installation Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.

Sustainability integrates mission requirements with community needs and environmental protection. The sustainability framework ensures the longevity of resources (energy, land, air, and water) by adhering to energy, environmental, safety and occupational health considerations. The Department of the Army, along with the other services, is evaluated on their overall progress toward meeting the sustainable mandates.

The Department of Defense (DOD) commits not only to complying with environmental and energy statutes, regulations, and Executive Orders, but also to going beyond just compliance when it serves the needs of national security. Using the Net Zero Installation Strategy, the Army’s goal is for installations to reach Net Zero—based on Net Zero Energy, Net Zero Water and Net Zero Waste. Net Zero installations consume only as much energy or water as they produce, and eliminate solid waste to landfills.

Current national sustainability strategies and policies are not mandated for contingency operations nor do they give directives to implement or develop sustainability. However, given the significant resources that installations and facility management consume, Camp Arifjan leadership has decided to embrace sustainability initiatives while maintaining the flexibility needed for rapid deployment and ever-changing requirements.

Mandated and Net Zero Energy Goals for Camp Arifjan
Detailed projections for when Camp Arifjan intends to meet both mandated and Net Zero Energy goals over the next 20 years.
Images courtesy of CH2M HILL

Energy, water and waste
Achieving sustainability goals begins with the Phase 1 planning level analysis of recommended initiatives for the installation, which is detailed in Camp Arifjan Net Zero Plan, December 2011. While this report explores each of the three Net Zero areas (energy, water and waste), the priority for Camp Arifjan is Net Zero for energy. In all three areas the Net Zero hierarchy is followed to ensure that overall demand is first reduced before seeking alternative, and often expensive, energy generation options.

The first step toward achieving Net Zero Energy is to aggressively focus on energy conservation and efficiency—efforts that require little start-up cost and lead to immediate savings. Benchmarking energy consumption identifies energy inefficiencies and opportunities. Conducting an energy audit systematically documents all usage and creates a baseline for future monitoring and improvements. Smart metering can then be employed to audit the energy used, identify areas for increased energy savings, and confirm energy modeling. The final step is to meet energy needs with renewable energy projects. Solar power is a viable solution, and wind data for Kuwait warrants the use of wind technology.

To achieve a Net Zero Water installation efforts also begin with conservation, followed by efficiency in use and improved integrity of distribution systems. Deployed U.S. forces use large quantities of water and generate substantial quantities of wastewater. In many cases, the distribution and use of water, and the collection and disposal of wastewater on these installations, is inefficient and costly. This inefficiency diverts equipment, personnel and fuel. Instead, water may be re-purposed by using gray water generated from sources such as showers, sinks and laundries, and by capturing precipitation and stormwater runoff for onsite use. Wastewater can be treated and reclaimed for other uses or recharged into groundwater aquifers.

Net Zero Waste eliminates the need for landfills, enhances human health, preserves the finite supply of virgin resources and supports environmental restoration. Implementing a strategy includes:

  • community involvement
  • conservation and source reduction
  • re-purposing components of waste
  • reclaiming recyclable and compostable materials
  • waste-to-energy technology

Ultimately, a holistic view of an installation’s form is critical to help integrate the different systems present and develop a full Net Zero installation. As Camp Arifjan continues to move toward being fully enduring, expeditionary and temporary facilities will be removed and replaced with permanent structures. This evolution will allow for infill development, and right-sized, energy efficient facilities. That will mean a more efficiently managed and more walkable camp that also ensures a high quality of life for troops located there.

Management and practices
In 2008, the federal government spent more than $500 billion procuring goods and services from the private sector. DOD has been the largest federal agency in terms of contracting dollars spent, accounting for roughly two-thirds of that total spending. As a result, the federal government and specifically DOD have a tremendous opportunity to impact public policy and promote sustainability by implementing sustainable procurement practices that include social, environmental and financial considerations.

In working toward Net Zero, contracting and alternative financing can be used as an effective tool. Pursuing Net Zero at Camp Arfijan is a tremendous chance to strengthen a partnership with a host nation. As this process moves forward, the implementation plan should include collaboration with the Government of Kuwait and explore arrangements that will help raise capital—such as Enhanced Use Lease and Public Private Partnerships—to establish renewable energy and waste reduction programs. Additional focus could be made on partnering with local universities and corporations to develop cutting-edge sustainable solutions. Other countries in the Area of Responsibility (AOR) are pursuing sustainable and Net Zero-type initiatives—such as the Masdar City project in Abu Dhabi—and it is likely that Kuwait will soon follow.

Camp Arifjan Camp Arifjan Camp ArifjanGiven the significant resources that installations and facility management consume, Camp Arifjan leadership has decided to embrace sustainability initiatives while maintaining the flexibility needed for rapid deployment and ever-changing requirements.

Achieving Net Zero is complex. As each step is examined in detail significant information is required to make informed decisions. Aiming for Net Zero by the year 2030 in the Camp Arifjan plan is based on typical results estimated for similar military installations. The specific actions, costs and payback periods required to achieve this goal will be defined when the next steps are implemented.

This Net Zero plan is Phase 1 in this process. At a minimum, the next steps need to define the baseline usage generation, followed by in-depth studies to determine the feasibility and payback of conservation and renewable programs. The next phases along this path are:

  • Phase 2 – Conduct studies, assessments and audits to finalize an Engineering Net Zero Implementation Plan, aligned with command goals and objectives.
  • Phase 3 – Implementation and monitoring of sustainability programs.

Camp Arifjan’s real commitment to sustainability can be seen in the rapid transition (less than six weeks) from the completion of Phase 1 to the initiation of Phase 2.

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Tools of the trade
Integrated sustainability tools provide the installation with unified systems for identifying, monitoring, modeling and tracking environmental footprint and climate adaptation data.

Simulations, such as CLIMSim © and SimCLIM ™ are modeling systems for the spatial analysis of climate variability and change and associated impacts on various social-economic sectors.

Urban Systems Integrated Infrastructure Modeling – Voyage ™, performs integrated energy, water and waste resource balances to capture interrelationships between resources and technologies on a neighborhood or city-wide scale. Populating the Voyage cost database, an effort currently underway as part of both the Masdar and Abu Dhabi Capital District projects, will improve reliability of cost information and cut down on the data gathering needed for each new project.

Sustainable Infrastructure Portal™ – SI PortClimate Adaptation (SI PORT™) is a sustainability management tool that facilitates carbon footprinting and overall sustainability performance tracking.

Sustainable Assessment Framework© – SAF is an enhanced Triple Bottom Line Approach that provides a very dependable and robust structure for evaluating infrastructure projects

Net Zero at Camp Arifjan is possible. Theoretically it can be achieved on or near 2030. Meeting federally mandated sustainability initiatives will start the process and yield significant results at very low relative costs.

However, Net Zero will require significant effort and participation to implement and sustain momentum, particularly given the high probable costs associated with renewable projects and the delicate intricacies of host nation partnering. Among the many challenges currently faced by the 18 selected Net Zero installations include balancing security and sustainability; locating resources and specialized personnel; ensuring funding is available; and, perhaps most critical to true long-term sustainability, partnering with the host nation.


Rob Coker, P.E., PMP, M.SAME, is Senior Planner, and Emma Del Vento, M.Arch, LEED Green Associate, is Associate Planner, Military Master Planning, Government Facilities & Infrastructure, CH2M HILL. They can be reached at 678-530-4534, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; and 678-530-4205, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., respectively.

Capt. Dale R. Liedl, M.SAME, USA, is Army Central (ARCENT) G37, Real Estate and Real Property Officer; 803-885-8205, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.