One participant noted that the metric for renewable energy—the quantity procured or produced divided by total energy—does not actually address either energy reduction or energy security. It is important to review this metric so that it does not cause unintended consequences. Another observer noted that although the acquisition of new military systems and equipment provides a unique opportunity to consider life-cycle energy efficiency, there is currently no directive to the acquisition community to enable serious investment in energy reduction. Stated differently, this not just as an investment in energy reduction, but as part of the life cycle cost of purchasing and operating the equipment, rather than just the capital cost for it. More efficient equipment is often more costly upfront, but less expensive when considering the full lifecycle costs. Energy considerations need to be threaded throughout the business analysis in acquisition decisions, and they need to be codified in guidance that carries weight.
According to the presentation by Paul Bollinger, Director, Boeing Energy, Boeing takes a life-cycle approach to reducing its environmental footprint—including that related to energy consumption, greenhouse gases, water consumption, hazardous waste, and solid waste. It has an integrated management system for measuring and reporting on progress, with a roll-up that can focus on sites, regions, or enterprise-wide results. “It comes down to culture,” he said. More than 6,000 employee-involvement teams meet once per week. Boeing received the 2012 Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star Partner of the Year award. Its chief executive officer is publicly committed to conserving energy, and its energy consumption has decreased since the base year 2007 despite increased production of aircraft.
The discussion after the presentation explored Boeing’s motivations for reducing energy. Boeing’s 787 aircraft is sold in part for its fuel efficiency. By extension, customers are also looking at the production efficiency. Commercial airlines focus on energy efficiency, which is tracked for each pilot and aircraft tail number. Significant savings have been achieved simply by adjusting the center of mass of the aircraft for optimum efficiency. Bollinger noted that the military does not have the same financial motivation as that of a commercial enterprise. He observed that support for energy conservation comes and goes in the various military services and that officers need to be held accountable for making progress on the energy front. Big fuel savings are possible when equipment is replaced—for example, when the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System program transitioned to the more efficient Boeing 737 aircraft.