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Federal Green Challenge

2017 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 Education and Outreach, Waste, Innovation, Purchasing and Overall Achievement.

In the Mid-Atlantic region, the 2017 award winners are the Department of Veterans Affairs James E. Van Zandt Veterans Administration Medical Center, the Department of Veterans Affairs Wilkes Barre Medical Center, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Missile Defense Agency. Below are descriptions of what the awardees achieved and ways they achieved reductions.

Overall Achievement

Department of Veterans Affairs, James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center, Altoona, Pennsylvania

The James E. Van Zandt Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Altoona, Penn., is the national FGC awardee in transportation. It operates a broad-based and award winning environmental management and sustainability program. The facility spreads over 23.6 acres and is situated at the upper reaches of the sensitive Chesapeake Bay drainage basin. It seeks to provide maximum pollution reduction and protections, including the operation of a growing fleet of alternative-powered vehicles. The facility increased its number of hybrid vehicles from four in 2015 to nine in 2016, a 125 percent increase in hybrid vehicles in just a year.

This facility also reduced its paper purchasing over a three-year period from over 18,000 lbs. per year to less than 11,000 lbs. per year. Additionally, electricians at this facility continue an aggressive program using maintenance funds to replace and retrofit existing lights with LEDs (light-emitting diode). By doing this, they save money in maintenance costs as well as electricity usage over the lifetime of the new lighting.

This facility made a significant capital investment in a wetlands pond for stormwater management as well, which currently captures 88 percent of all precipitation. The environmental management system at this Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) facilitates innovative solutions for complex problems with its ‘environmental protection first’ approach, which follows the Altoona Green Environmental Management System (GEMS) slogan of "Protecting the environment while serving those who served."

Waste, and Education and Outreach

Department of Veterans Affairs, Wilkes Barre Medical Center, Wilkes Barre, PA

The Wilkes Barre Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Wilkes Barre, Penn., increased the amount it diverted from landfills by over 500 percent in 2016 by recycling the materials of a deconstructed tower and old boilers. It sent 762 more tons of materials for recycling than the previous year. This VAMC also excels at engaging its 1,200 employees with environmental stewardship programs through its quarterly Green Environmental Management System Newsletters, signage, and during new employee orientation. The newsletter includes information to foster environmental excellence at the facility, as well as at home. The implementation of this outreach program is significant because VAMC’s goal is to not only increase sustainability at the facility but to also increase sustainability at home, and thereby benefit the community at large.


National Aeronautics and Space Administration Langley Research Center, Langley, Hampton, VA

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Langley Research Center (LaRC) developed an innovative web-based environmental impact analysis and monitoring tool, the LaRC Environmental Project Planning Form, to support LaRC's environmental policies and assist in identifying pollution prevention opportunities. Waste diversion is one benefit resulting from this tool in that it has helped LaRC to divert approximately 77 percent of Construction and Demolition debris. This tool has also helped LaRC save money. For example, LaRC saved $303,000 in avoided costs through the on-site reuse of diverted material. The web-based capabilities of the tool also reduce costs by maximizing resources since paper waste is no longer generated by completing a paper form and environmental staff from each media area are identified immediately by email as soon as a project has been submitted for review. This provides for the efficient management of projects and resources.

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Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency, Ft. Belvoir, VA

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA), which operates facilities in Middle Atlantic States and nationally, reduced its paper purchased by 27 percent compared to the previous year. MDA removed the "print" button and replaced it with a "submit" button for the majority of its electronic forms to better promote electronic business practices and decrease the use of paper. MDA issues contracts for cleaning and pest management services that specify the use of green chemicals and recycled content paper goods. Ninety-two percent of MDA’s Government Purchase Card orders were for green goods and services when green attributes were available. More than 70 percent of MDA’s supply store stock items have green attributes and are marked as green products to aid in their selection. Further, all shipping and receiving facilities reuse any associated packaging materials.

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