NATO's Strategic Warfare Development Command

“A Step in the Right Direction”: Solar Panels, E-Vehicles, and LEDs at NATO’s Allied Command Transformation

May 19, 2021


Allied Command Transformation has commissioned a number of environmentally friendly projects that will help ensure the Command meets its ongoing sustainability aims. These projects will support wider Alliance steps to enhance energy efficiency and fossil fuel independence, both of which will be discussed at the upcoming NATO Summit on 14 June 2021.

The small ceremony, which was led by Allied Command Transformation’s Chief of Staff, Vice Admiral Paul Bennett, celebrated the installation of 937 Solar Panels, the installation of Light Emitting Diodes (LED) throughout the site, and the replacement of half of the Headquarters’ transport pool with e-Vehicles. It was also an opportunity to present awards to some of the Command Base Support personnel to recognise their hard work in successfully delivering these projects in only 20 months and $150,000 under budget.

The Solar Panels project was conceived as a ‘spend-to-save’ measure and will see the investment recovered in saved energy costs within 11 years. Furthermore, they will now provide 15% of the Headquarter’s energy. This will save the Alliance $3 million over the life of the system.

The LED conversion saw the installation of 1,210 LED lights throughout almost all of the Headquarters over a two-month period. This initiative alone will mean a reduction of CO2 released into the atmosphere and will reduce fossil fuel consumption by the equivalent of 50 barrels per year, as well as reducing energy costs.

The introduction of e-Vehicles to the Command fleet now means that half the fleet will emit zero grams of CO2 during use. Each vehicle will produce approximately 6% of the total emissions of the vehicles they replaced during their respective lifetimes (including manufacturing), significantly reducing the fleet’s carbon footprint. Moreover, the reduction on maintenance and fuel costs will save NATO $14,000 per year.

In commenting on these initiatives, Vice Admiral Bennett said, “It is great when you can celebrate a step in the right direction,” and went on to say that, “the reduction of electricity is a great start.”

VADM Bennett also thanked Captain Jon Kline, Commanding Officer Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads who, along with the Public Works Officer from Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC), were critical partners in facilitating the approvals and engineering oversight for these important projects. In addition, he highlighted Captain Kline’s base environmental initiatives. These include installation of low-flow water fixtures and LED lights throughout multiple facilities at Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads Headquarters and the transition of the last of the steam plants at the Northwest Annex to a decentralized propane boiler system, all of which improve efficiency of base utilities.

On completion of the ceremony, Vice Admiral Bennett and Captain Kline had the opportunity to view the new vehicles and were given a tour of the Solar Panel installation.

These projects form part of an ongoing set of environmental initiatives within the Headquarters, which include the formation of an ECO Task Force, the creation of a Headquarters Sustainability Plan, and a new pollinator garden among many other initiatives.