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Federal Green Challenge

2016 Federal Green Challenge Award Winners in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Recognition is an important part of the Federal Green Challenge. Awards were given at the regional level in the categories of Leadership, Innovation, Waste, Purchasing, and Overall Achievement.

In the Mid-Atlantic region, the 2016 award winners are the Department of Justice McDowell Federal Correctional Institution, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Coatesville VA Medical Center, Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary and James E. Van Zandt Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center. Below are descriptions of what the awardees achieved and/or how they achieved reductions.

Overall Achievement

James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center, Altoona, Pennsylvania

2016 Award IconThe Van Zandt VA Medical Center operates a broad-based and very successful environmental management and sustainability program. They institute a robust waste management program with over 61 percent of their waste-stream being recycled. They use 20 percent less energy per square foot than hospitals nationwide with employment of occupancy sensors in offices and common areas, and designed natural light usage where practical. Their program also realized a 33 percent reduction in indoor water use through utility upgrades such as water sensors, flow control valves, timers and water restrictors. This 23.6 acre facility is situated at the upper reaches of the sensitive Chesapeake Bay drainage basin and seeks to provide the maximum pollution reduction and protections including the capture of 88 percent of precipitation through use of storm-ponds and rain gardens. This facility uses mulching mowers to compost 6.8 tons of grass and leaves saving both manpower costs and eliminating the need to irrigate and fertilize. Additional noteworthy accomplishments in FY15 include: sending 8.2 tons of end-of-life electronics to UNICOR, a third party certified recycler; diverting 409 tons out of 465 tons of C&D waste for a rate of 88 percent; and operating a growing fleet of five electric vehicles.


McDowell Federal Correctional Institution, Welch, West Virginia

2016 Award IconThe McDowell Federal Correctional Institution (FCI McDowell) has demonstrated leadership which has influenced the rest of the Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Prisons. FCI McDowell has a very large and efficient recycling program and seeks to continuously improve by implementing new ideas, equipment and systems. Other institutions often contact FCI McDowell for guidance and new ideas to help with their recycling program. FCI McDowell has an on-site center that recycles institutional trash on a daily basis, thereby eliminating waste going to the landfill and also uses a food digester machine to divert organic waste. They recycle many other materials including cardboard, paper, various grades of plastics, ferrous and nonferrous metals, milk cartons, clothing and more. FCI McDowell's recycling program reports a yearly efficiency rate at around 70 percent. The recycling operations also support the production of jobs for inmates.


FEMA, Washington, District of Columbia

The District of Columbia area FEMA Office of the Chief Administrative Officer (OCAO), Sustainability Energy, Environmental and Asset Management Division and the National Emergency Training Center (NETC) jointly developed and implemented a series of pollution prevention and energy initiatives at facilities on the NETC, which has reduced FEMA’s overall facility operational cost, as well as waste generation and harmful greenhouse gas emissions. These efforts resulted in a 22 percent reduction in electricity consumption; 33 percent reduction in natural gas; 22.93 percent increase in ENERGY STAR building efficiency rating; 15 percent reduction in water consumption; and the establishment of a robust pollution prevention program highlighted by various recycling initiatives. Waste reduction initiatives are estimated to have helped the region reduce its waste generation by as much as 11,859 pounds of waste daily (1,542 tons annually). FEMA remains committed to the sustainable and efficient management of its agency’s operations.

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Coatesville VA Medical Center, Coatesville, Pennsylvania

2016 Award IconThe Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center recycled over 454 tons of construction and demolition (C&D) debris in fiscal year 2015 (FY15). They had a greater than 80 percent diversion rate for C&D waste due to recycling efforts at large projects that yielded high quantities of waste to be recycled including metal, masonry/plaster, drywall and ceiling tiles. The VA construction specifications require contractors to provide, as part of the bid submittal process, confirmation that where they will be sending waste is a proper recycling center. Without strong specifications, C&D debris could end up in a landfill, which was partially found to be the case by an audit conducted by the VA under a former contract. This VA Center works hard to maintain and enhance all aspects of their green environmental management system.


Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

2016 Award IconThe Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary reduced paper usage from 17,411 pounds to 15,540 pounds of paper purchased in FY15. In addition to this approximate savings of one ton of paper, there is also a savings in energy and waste that is related with paper reduction due to the associated reduction of printing and disposal. This reduction was achieved by encouraging staff to save more documentation in electronic formats rather than printing and storing hard-copies. This facility also uses paper containing at least 30 percent recycled content which they purchase from a blind veteran's association.

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