US Army Corps of Engineers
Baltimore District

Sustainability Mission Statement

The Baltimore District is committed to contributing to the national welfare and serving the public by providing quality and responsive services to the Nation, the Army, and other customers in a manner that is environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. As stewards of the environment, we actively engage in a variety of sustainable engineering, design, and construction practices including energy reduction, low impact development, and installation planning, among many others.

Sustainability at the Baltimore District

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As we manage and maintain water resources that will be sustainable in the future, understanding the potential impacts caused by climate change to both natural and man-made systems is critical to the Baltimore District. Typical influences are changes in temperature; changes in precipitation quantity, intensity and form (snow vs. rain); and changes in sea level, winds and wave patterns.

Climate change impacts affect water availability, water demand, water quality, stormwater and wastewater infrastructure, flood and coastal storm infrastructure, woodland fires, ecosystem functioning, coastal zone functioning, navigation, and energy production and demand. All of these factors affect the water resources projects operated by the Corps and its non-Federal sponsors, many of which were designed and constructed before climate change was recognized as a potential influence.

All water resources infrastructure and programs, existing and proposed, could be affected by climate change and adaptation to climate change. This affects design and operational assumptions about resource supplies, system demands or performance requirements, and operational constraints. As a result, the Baltimore District uses climate change impact data when making regulatory decisions, especially concerning navigable waterways.

The USACE Institute for Water Resources and the CorpsClimate web pages can provide additional information about climate change and how it impacts the Corps' missions.

As outlined under Executive Order 13514, all federal agencies must meet a variety of energy, water, pollution, and waste reduction targets. As a result, the Corps of Engineers developed a sustainability plan addressing how the Corps plans to decrease energy use.

One such way is through the Army's Commercial Utilities Program (ACUP), which falls under the direction of the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Installations and Environment (ASA, I&E), but is managed and executed by the Corps of Engineers. ACUP promotes the procurement utility services that offer energy efficiency, fair market price, and reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. Additionally the program encourages the use of clean, renewable energy and optimization of environmental benefits.

Fort Detrick, a military installation within the Baltimore District's are of responsibility, has been designated as one of six Net Zero Energy pilot installations within the Army. Net Zero Energy dictates that a building does not use any more energy than can be generated on its site. Executive Order 13514 requires that after the year 2020, all federal buildings will be designed as Net Zero Energy buildings. The Baltimore District has been chosen to lead the way in moving closer to this goal and developing the expertise today to ensure our success in the future.

In order to reduce energy consumption, the Corps of Engineers continues to increase sustainable building practices, increase renewable energy resources at Corps-owned facilities, and reduce petroleum use among fleet vehicles.

As much of our nation's infrastructure is continuing to age, renovations are becoming more critical than ever. In many cases, it can be more cost efficient and sustainable to perform renovations than to perform completely new construction. The Baltimore District recognizes this and has the capabilities to carry out green and sustainable renovation projects for our customers. From the beginning of design to the end of construction, the Baltimore District has the knowledge and resources to successfully complete a wide array of sustainable renovation projects.

Executive Order 13514 requires Federal government agencies to bring existing facilities in compliance with the Guiding Principles of sustainability outlined in the High Performance and Sustainable Building 2008 memorandum. This renovation work is a progressive initiative that brings 15 percent of existing building inventory into compliance by 2015 . The Corps is joining in this effort to renovate the Army's existing facilities to meet the requirements of integrated design, optimized energy performance, protecting and conserving water, enhancing indoor environmental quality, and reducing environmental impact of materials.

Green renovation capabilities include:

  • Design of Renovation Work
          - Review and Backchecking of Designs
  • Selecting of Architect/Engineer and/or Contractor for Project
  • Overall Construction Contract Administration
  • Construction Oversight
          - Quality Assurance
          - Submittal Review
          - Testing and Balancing verification
          - Commissioning of Systems oversight
          - LEED verification
  • Enforcement of Warranty Items
  • Act as Owner's Representatives

The Corps understands that proper planning is critical to mission success of many organizations. The Corps provides a comprehensive array of planning services to support the development of Department of Defense and other Federal agencies' facilities. We are well versed in the planning process and are able to assist in determining the effect planning decisions will have on the overall future operation of a facility, its employees and residents, and the surrounding community.

Specific examples of planning studies/reports include:

  • Environmental Baseline Surveys
  • Stormwater Management Studies/Mapping
          - Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans
          - Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plans
          - Land Use Studies
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Environmental Constraints Analysis
  • TMDL Management
  • Sustainability Studies
  • Green Procurement Plans
  • Green Building Manuals
  • Sustainable Practices

Low Impact Development (LID) is a land planning and engineering design approach to managing storm water runoff on site. LID emphasizes conservation and use of natural on-site features to protect water quality. This approach focuses on infiltration, filtering, storing, evaporating, and detaining runoff close to its source. By doing so, we can reduce the amount of stormwater runoff, which often contains harmful chemicals, from reaching the Chesapeake Bay.

Common techniques used to implement LID include:

  • Bioretention cells, also known as rain gardens
  • Cisterns and rain barrels
  • Green roofs
  • Pervious concrete or permeable paving
  • Grassed swales, also known as bioswales
  • Storm water management devices that capture pollutants (media filters) and/or aid in on-site infiltration.

(For more information on common techniques, please visit our technologies page)

The construction and renovation of facilities located on military installations is typically done through the USACE Military Construction Program (MILCON). The Baltimore District supports 15 military installations and provides design, engineering and construction services to build administrative buildings, training facilities, laboratories, and barracks, among others. These facilities then support our service members and civilians who live and work at the installation.

With the recent consolidation of military installations, many new buildings and facilities have been constructed at the installations within our area of responsibility. Recognizing the importance of limiting environmental impacts during construction, the Baltimore District implements many standards and guidelines to support sustainable design and engineering. One such example is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

The LEED program establishes that all military facilities will be designed, constructed and operated in a way that integrates higher performance energy design standards, and that the building materials used will have a lower environmental impact.

At the Baltimore District, all military buildings receive a score based on a list of set criteria. Certain building practices, materials and construction tactics receive more point. Scores range from LEED Bronze (lowest) to LEED Platinum (highest). The Baltimore District, as well as the entire Department of Defense, commits to achieving a LEED Silver status for all MILCON projects. beginning in 2013, 100% of eligible building projects will be registered LEED Silver.

For more information on the LEED program, please visit the U.S. Green Building Council LEED website.

From the thousands of miles of coastal shoreline and rivers to the lakes and wetlands that dot our nation's landscape, America is fortunate to have an abundance of water resources. As a nation, we value these resources for their natural beauty, for the many ways they help meet human needs, and for the fact that they provide habitat for millions of plants, fish and wildlife. Over the past few decades, we also have come to understand how fragile these aquatic resources are and how essential it is to conserve, protect and restore them. Our nation has learned many hard lessons about the incredible importance of maintaining a balance between human needs and sustaining the environment.

At the Baltimore District, our programs support an array of nationally important environmental goals, including:

  • Restoring ecosystem health
  • Conserving and improving habitats for plants, fish and wildlife
  • Protecting and restoring rare, threatened, and endangered species
  • Providing conservation and education
  • Keeping our nation's waters clean
  • Achieving no overall netloss of wetlands

For more information, check out the Corps Environment Brochure.

Sustainability in the Community

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As a prominent Federal entity, a key participant in the use and management of many of the Nation's water resources, a critical team member in the design, construction, and management of military and civil infrastructure, and as responsible members of the Nation's citizenry, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) strives to protect, sustain, and improve the natural and man-made environment of our Nation, and is committed to compliance with applicable environmental and energy statutes, regulations, and Executive Orders.

Executive Order (EO) 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, states that sustainability "means to create and maintain conditions, under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations. " The EO emphasizes that sustainability should not only be a natural part of all the Corps' decision processes, but should also be part of our organizational culture. The Corps is a steward for some of the Nation's most valuable natural resources, and we must ensure our customers receive products and services that provide for sustainable solutions that address short and long-term environmental, social, and economic considerations.

You, too, can strive to make sustainability an outcome of your activities. You can conserve energy and reduce pollution by making small changes to things you do in the office, at home and while traveling. For example, at home you can turn your refrigerator down or set your washer to use only warm or cold water. At the office you can purchase recycled office products, and ensure lights not in use are turned off. On the road you can car pool with office colleagues, avoid hard accelerations, reduce time spent idling, unload unnecessary items in your trunk to reduce your vehicle's weight, or drive smart by going easy on the brakes and gas pedal. There are many ways individuals can help sustain our environment.

For more information, please visit:

Sustainable Water is important now and in the future, for all countries. The Corps is committed to providing essential water resource solutions at a local level as well as national and international levels. The Corps works with partners and stakeholders to come up with collaborative solutions that are holistic and sustainable.

As we look to the future, management of the impacts of climate change will only increase the criticality of developing and maintaining our National water resources. Our goal is to identify and leverage opportunities for collaborative efforts, enhance water resources leadership, educate the public on the importance of sustainable design, and share the necessary knowledge and technology to encourage all states and federal agencies to work together to improve sustainability in the United States. By building strong collaborative relationships we aim to further leverage federal resources in assisting with water resources planning in an era of constrained resources.

For more information, please visit: Building Strong Collaborative Relationships for a Sustainable Water Resources Future

The Corps is committed to both mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change. All new construction projects taken on by the Corps are required to meet a LEED Silver rating. This means that from the moment construction begins throughout the building's life, the negative effects on our environment and climate are greatly reduced. For example, during construction, greater use of regional materials requires less energy to transport these materials to the project site. Once the building is constructed, the increased effort to commission the HVAC systems saves on overall energy usage and cost to operate. These are just a few things of what can be done to lower overall energy use and improve our climate.

In addition to mitigation, the Corps also realizes that our policies support minimizing negative impacts related to climate change. As a result, the Corps has adopted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Climate Change Adaptation Policy.

The Baltimore District possesses the capabilities and knowledgeable staff to help adapt and protect the world we live in from damage to our air and climate.

The Baltimore District assists military installations and other DoD agencies meet environmental compliance and ensure long-term sustainability. Planning is a key step in developing the strategies that allow us to use resources efficiently and protect and enhance the quality of life. The Corps offers various planning services to help installations meet environmental regulations and develop effective and efficient strategies.
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