In an age of austerity for not only the public and the government, green energy can be more than the right thing to do for the environment. It can also save money by reducing operating costs associated with running VA’s hundreds of facilities across the U.S. That means more funds for other priorities that Veterans need and deserve.

The Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond has been leading the way in the effort to save money and boost efficiency. The medical center isn’t just the flagship green facility for VA; it’s more efficient than 93 percent of all hospitals in the United States. It’s among more than 250 green buildings operated by VA, and it will stretch the taxpayer dollar further with the installation of a geothermal system later this year.

Other projects that will tune up electricity, water, and heating systems will save more than $150,000 a year. This will be part of an effort across the agency to save an estimated $13 million dollars a year in energy and water conservation. That’s a lot of money that could go to other vital programs.

It’s clear that a focus on green energy is not just to feel good about saving the whales or the rain forest. It has proven to lead to dramatic reductions in energy use, which will save a lot of money every year. Every government agency should be looking for ways to save every dollar, and in our case, that means pumping much needed cash into programs like medical care, education, and benefits. You don’t have to be an environmentalist for that to be a good thing.

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Published on Feb. 3, 2012

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  1. NJen February 20, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    At least Obama tried getting green energy going..not quite sure who/what put a dark cloud between Solnydra and Washington. Obama was probably given wrong information just like the bad information given to Bush and started the Iraw war. Something is fishy in Washington.

  2. T.J. Short February 8, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    This is a step in the right direction, but still not a great cost vs rewards solution. A better place to start is a very simple and cost effective solution of repairing and replacing the mechanical insulation in the VA facilities, it would have a immediate and cost effective benefit of “greening” the VA. I have been in the mechanical insulation trade for 10 years now and now how beneficial this would be. I am a disabled veteran and had approached the VA with this solution on numerous levels to no avail, I even took this idea to voc-rehab to help me start my own business, but they refused because I was staying in the field that I am currently working in, and to use voc-rehab I would have to change fields (doesn’t make much sense). Anyways, I would like to see the VA utilize this methodology to really lead the way in green energy while helping put people back to work.

  3. Tom February 4, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Are those bought from the now defunct Solyndra that owes the American tax payers 65B or did we lovingly purchase Chinese made panels ???

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