As a new era of environmental awareness in the military takes off, the Israel Air Force is taking the lead and initiating a number of green projects to save water, reduce energy consumption and prevent contamination.

1. Natural Lighting

Imagine your office, your home, your classroom–lit entirely by natural light throughout the day. Using smart natural lighting tech, the IAF is making florescent lighting a thing of the past. Major Asaf, Head of the Air Force Sustainability Initiative, is installing tubular skylights in air force hangars. On sunny days, some 75% of the year, the skylights channel and amplify natural light with internal mirrors that supply substantial lighting. The plan is to install skylights in all air force bases, and to completely upgrade five bases by the end of February 2016. Maj. Asaf explains that “each rooftop system saves some 25-45 thousand shekels [ 6400-1160 thousand dollars] in electricity, so it’s optimal from an energy and economic standpoint.”

2. Solar Energy Fields

If there’s thing Israel has a lot of—it’s sunlight. With that, it’s no surprise that the Israel Air Force has been investing a great deal in solar energy. Maj. Asaf is leading the way in building a major photovoltaic (PV) solar energy field on Ramon Base. “We’re looking at an 80-dunam [861,113 square foot] solar field panel capable of producing 5 megawatts of power at peak hours,” says Maj. Asaf. On a yearly basis, the PV field produces some 8.5 million kilowatt-hours, valued at some 4.3 million shekels [1.1M USD]. The solar field, set to be completed by June 2016, will minimize both the IAF’s budgetary spending and impact on the environment. Additionally, it will provide independence for the IAF if civilian energy fields are not operational in times of emergency.

3. Zero Energy Building

idf green

4. Smart Water Sensors

Picture having a bird’s-eye view of a small city’s entire water infrastructure at your fingertips. That’s exactly what Captain Noa Tomy, an Environmental & Water Resources Systems Engineer, is working on for the IAF. “We are integrating a smart-sensor water management system which will allow us to accurately monitor all the water infrastructure on bases, and instantly catch leaks and pipe issues,” explains Capt. Tomy. With the new system, “we’ll be able to save some 25% of our current water usage.” For Capt. Tomy and her colleagues, saving water and preventing contamination is vital.

5. Cathodic Protection

Preventing oil leaks has become a major priority for the IAF. Sergeant Major Alex Krikun, who oversees infrastructure planning for the IAF, explains that “when it comes to storing oil, corroded pipes are a major risk, as they can lead to leaks and ground contamination.” That’s why Sgt. Maj. Krikun is bringing Cathodic Protection technology to every air force base within the next year. Cathodic Protection, he explains, is a method used to protect pipes from corrosion by allowing another layer of metal, rather than the pipe itself, to become corroded. “It’s our responsibility to ensure that our storage facilities are as safe and secure as possible.”

With clean tech projects taking off in the IAF, the future is looking sunny. Saving water and energy and keeping the earth clean is no longer negotiable—its a duty which the IDF proudly accepts.