2016 Federal Green Challenge Award Winners in the Northeast Region
Recognition is an important part of the Federal Green Challenge (FGC). Awards were given at the regional level in the categories of Education and Outreach, and Leadership.
In Region 2, which serves New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the 2016 award winners are Veterans Affairs Caribbean Healthcare Facility System (VACHS), Brookhaven National Laboratory, and General Services Administration (GSA) Region 2. Below are descriptions of what the awardees achieved and/or how they achieved reductions.
Veterans Affairs Caribbean Healthcare Facility System (VACHS), San Juan, Puerto Rico
VACHS has established an aggressive strategic National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) implementation process into all construction project activities in their facilities. Environmental evaluation and assessment is integrated into all stages of the planning and implementation of design and construction of projects. Project managers are key components and steward leaders into a successful NEPA integration process.
A NEPA training program was established as a performance goal measurement for this strategy. Project managers consisting of mechanical, electrical, civil and structural engineers; planners; and architects were selected as the target population. By completing NEPA training, project managers were able to acquire knowledge of the NEPA process, environmental regulations, permitting compliance and their overall roles and responsibilities to the environment.
VACHS uses the environmental aspect/impact assessment scorecard methodology for significant determination. The implementation of the NEPA Training and Construction Waste Management was a successful tool to project managers in providing regulatory compliance awareness and responsibilities to the Green Environmental Management System Program. For fiscal year 2015 (FY15), a 100 percent of the projects met compliance with environmental regulatory requirements.
VACHS has significantly increased recycling opportunities by reusing and donating construction materials generated from renovation projects. For example, in FY15, VACHS San Juan Medical Center Auditorium donated more than 3,000 auditorium chairs for a total of 1.6 tons. This action diverted solid waste from the landfill and benefited a nonprofit local elementary school near the hospital.
Additionally, by enhancing multidisciplinary participation and coordination efforts and procedures, VACHS has improved and established a positive working relationship between engineers, environmental staff and construction employees. They also continuously submit construction waste data into the Green Health Tracker Waste Management Program, and monitor waste management during Environment of Care Construction Inspections.
All strategies implemented under this program can be expanded into all VA and other agencies, as demonstrated with the selection of the VACHS NEPA Environmental Evaluation form used as a reference tool in the VA Interim NEPA Guidance for Project.
Department of Energy, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York
With the completion and start-up of the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) in September 2014, the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) ceased operation and the process of repurposing the NSLS facility commenced. Brookhaven Science Associates has completed the NSLS stabilization and hazard removal project that was part of an integrated plan for preparing the facility for its post-operations phase of the facility life cycle. Both phases of this plan—stabilization and hazard removal—were planned with the objective of recovering the value of NSLS assets to the extent practicable and enabling the facility to be reused for a new purpose. This plan and its execution were highly effective as evidenced by:
- more than $76 million in NSLS equipment removed for reuse at NSLS-II, elsewhere on the Brookhaven National Laboratory campus or elsewhere in the Department of Energy (DOE) complex;
- almost 1.6 million pounds of material recycled with a return of more than $600,000 to the project; and
- more than $200,000 in waste transportation and disposal costs avoided.
Brookhaven National Laboratory's historical annual recycling rates have been in the 60 to 65 percent range, significantly above the Department of Energy’s sustainability goal of 50 percent. The magnitude of this project brought the laboratory’s annual recycling rate up to 74 percent.
The planning process for the decommissioning of this facility resulted in significant amounts of materials to be reused, repurposed or recycled resulting in a minimum amount of waste. The process saved tax payers millions of dollars and all of this work was carefully planned without injury and with full respect for the environment.
General Services Administration (GSA) Region 2, New York, New York
For the last two years GSA Region 2 has participated in EPA’s FGC with 11 buildings representing over 7.7 million square feet. GSA has been and continues to be committed to increasing the sustainability of its buildings and operations by reducing energy and water consumption and increasing waste diversion rates throughout Region 2. GSA has accomplished this through the concerted regional wide efforts of multiple project teams implementing programs and initiatives to increase sustainability and building performance while decreasing energy and water consumption. The work of multiple project teams thought the region has included Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design building certifications projects, compliance with the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) High Performance Green Building Full and Partial Building Modernization projects, ARRA High Performance Small and Limited Scope Green Building projects, building renovation and repair projects, commissioning and re-commissioning work, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers Level II audits, Targeted Energy Efficiency Expert Evaluations (E4 program), Rapid Building Assessment and Energy Saving Performance Contract work.