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Kadena Air Base in Japan recently received the Secretary of Defense’s 2023 Non-Industrial Installation Environmental Sustainability Award for Outstanding Achievement in Department of Defense Environmental Programs.

The Sustainability, Non-Industrial Installation Award recognizes DoD non-industrial installation efforts with a measurable focus on energy efficiency, renewable energy practices, efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, purchasing sustainable goods and services, diversion of waste, and energy resilience efforts .

“This is the first time a USAF installation overseas has won this environmental award,” explained Shawn Williams, installation manager of the 718th Civil Engineer Squadron. “This shows our commitment to sustainable practices and being good neighbors to our host nation while we continue to design a critical air force to ensure regional stability and security.”

The 2023 Secretary of Defense Environmental Award Cycle covers the achievement period from October 1, 2020, to September 30, 2022. Sustainable practices ensure that the Department of Defense protects valuable resources critical to mission success.

“During this time, Kadena contracted a private energy company to implement a four-part energy conservation contract to increase the energy resilience of mission-critical installations, emphasized the purchase of green materials through the implementation of several sustainable programs, and facilitated the removal of 23,000 pounds of ozone-depleting substances in Class I and II,” said Dacia Westerlund, head of environmental protection at the 718th CES.

In addition to making the 18th Wing more sustainable, the environmental team is also taking great strides to maintain strong relationships between Kadena AB and host communities through their conservation efforts.

“We conduct cultural asset research before embarking on any projects as it is our responsibility to protect the many historical and cultural assets found throughout the installation, such as tombs, temples, countryside and World War II sites,” said Westerlund. “We are also conducting research to identify plant, coral and wildlife species within the Kadena and Okuma Recreation Center boundaries to ensure the conservation of native species found in Okinawa.”

While the Non-Industrial Sustainable Installation Award is an environmental award, Williams emphasized that it is a site-wide award.

“This award was largely the result of teamwork from various units across Kadena,” said Williams. “From the 18th Contracting Squadron helping us deliver our projects, to engineers designing sustainable facilities and every single member of our cross-functional design teams,

The high level of command support from the 18th Wing increases the visibility of Sustainable Development Goals and assignments across the Pacific and promotes continuous improvement.

“We have amazing leadership here that takes environmental issues seriously and supports our sustainability efforts,” Williams said. “They provide us with the resources we need to focus on making Kadena more resilient.”

To learn more about the sustainability efforts Kadena has undertaken to earn this award, please visit:


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