2016 Federal Green Challenge Award Winners in the Great Lakes Region
Recognition is an important part of the Federal Green Challenge. Awards were given at the regional level in the categories of Waste, Energy, Education and Outreach, Purchasing, Innovation, Electronics, Transportation, Water, and Leadership.
In the Great Lakes region, the 2016 award winners are the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare System, Minnesota National Guard, U.S. EPA Mid-Continent Ecology Division, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Detroit Field Office, and Naval Station Great Lakes. Below are descriptions of what the awardees achieved and/or how they achieved reductions.
Minneapolis Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare System, Minneapolis, Minnesota
In the last year, the VA Healthcare system has received a number of Federal Executive Orders and VA Directives requiring that they endeavor to increase their overall recycling rate to 50 percent or greater and the recycling of construction and demolition (C&D) waste to 80 percent or greater. These are very aggressive targets. The Facility Green Environmental Management System Program Manager working closely with the Environmental Management Section pushed the recycling rates of all materials up. A special focus was put on the work by the Engineering Projects section, which dramatically increased the rate of recycling C&D waste to more than 80 percent. Every contract for new projects or facility rehabilitation was given the new recycling goals and the results were closely measured to ensure compliance. At the end of the year, Minneapolis VA Healthcare System was surprised to find they had diverted more than 367 tons of C&D out of 450 tons generated compared to 66 tons out of 150 tons the year before.
Minnesota National Guard, Little Falls, Minnesota
The Minnesota National Guard reduced natural gas use from 121,628,235 cubic feet in 2014 to 96,582,662 cubic feet in 2015, resulting in a 20 percent reduction. Additionally, they reduced their energy use intensity, energy used per square foot, by an average of four percent in half its guard units through an Energy Efficiency Challenge and associated education and outreach program.
U.S. EPA Mid-Continent Ecology Division, Duluth, Minnesota
The U.S. EPA Mid-Continent Ecology Division reduced the amount of paper purchased from 2,450 pounds in 2014 to 2,200 pounds in 2015 for a 10 percent reduction and increased the number of green meetings by 900 percent. Additionally, they improved pollinator habitat for butterflies and bees in 2015 by removing non-native species and adding additional native flowers and grasses to a portion of the campus converted to a northern upland meadow more than 10 years ago. The work has attracted birds and a variety of large and small mammals, in addition to pollinators, and has saved energy as the three and a half acres are no longer mowed.
Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Detroit Field Office, Detroit, Michigan
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Detroit Field Office increased the amount of electronics recycled by a third party from 1.9 tons in 2014 to 2.5 tons in 2015, increasing electronics recycling by nearly 32 percent.
U.S. Naval Station Great Lakes, Great Lakes, Illinois
The U.S. Naval Station Great Lakes reduced fleet vehicle miles from 1,202,706 miles in 2014 to 1,005,352 miles in 2015 for a reduction of 16.4 percent. Additionally, they significantly reduced energy use, hazardous waste generation, ozone-forming chemicals and greenhouse gas emissions through committed leadership and teamwork among tenant commands in implementation of the base's Environmental Management System and associated initiatives. Finally, they reduced potable water usage from 778,896,453 gallons in 2014 to 702,458,966 gallons in 2015 for more than a 9 percent decrease.