Sustainable Operations at Homestead Air Reserve Base

Since Hurricane Andrew’s devastation, major strides have been made in understanding the interrelationships of global and systemic environmental impacts of any operation or activity undertaken by all members of society. Out of this, sustainable practices, founded on the inseparable interrelationships of environment, economy, and society, have emerged at the forefront of environmental management and stewardship.

Homestead ARB has followed the precepts of sustainable development and operation as part of their mission since the reconstruction started in the early 1990s. As these concepts have emerged and become more widely understood and applied, Homestead ARB has maintained an active interest in identifying and implementing opportunities for sustainable practices at the installation. This has been reflected in many areas, particularly with respect to P2 and reconstruction of buildings at the facility.

Implementation of environmental stewardship began with development of a strong pollution prevention (P2) program that has positively impacted all aspects of the operations at Homestead ARB since restoration activities began. Widely recognized as a leader in P2, the Air Force Reserve Command (HQ AFRC) and Homestead ARB personnel have established aggressive goals and programs for managing the installation with a strong sense of environmental commitment.

Homestead ARB has also recognized that refurbishing old buildings is preferable to demolishing them whenever the existing structure is undamaged or can be repaired, rather than building new structures which require raw materials. This has been reflected in the Base Management Plan. For example, the new fire station was constructed using the existing infrastructure, and sustainable practices were incorporated in many aspects of the design and construction, including the reuse of an existing structural skeleton and the use of natural materials which require virtually no exterior painting and are consistent with the visual aspects of the southern Florida environmental landscape. As part of the reconstruction, the “reincarnation” of older structures saves additional energy and landfill space necessary for managing demolition and construction debris.

Similar progress has been made in the reduction of air emissions, demand for raw materials, permitting requirements, and other fuel and energy consumption. Homestead ARB maintains a Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office (DRMO) to handle any materials that can be reused, transferred, donated, or sold for further use, including some hazardous materials, and the DRMO additionally serves surrounding reserve facilities.

Sustainability initiatives have become a major focus at Homestead ARB and are now beginning to permeate operational philosophy, with recognizable benefit to mission readiness. This focus has evolved and expanded over the last several years, and was formalized with the development of the Homestead ARB Sustainable Operations vision statement in 2000:

Enhance the mission of the 482d Fighter Wing through the resource-efficient integration of environmental, economic, and social considerations.

The commitment demonstrated by Homestead ARB reflects an understanding that sustainable practices are an area where innovations are continuously emerging at levels that are able to be implement from a practical standpoint. To this end, Homestead ARB recognizes that the concepts of sustainability can be applied to and benefits can be realized in nine primary operational categories of their operations and be accomplished so as to enhance the installation’s current and future strategic defense mission.