2017 Federal Green Challenge Award Winners in the Pacific Northwest Region
Recognition is an important part of the Federal Green Challenge. Awards were given at the regional level in the categories of Innovation, Electronics, Leadership, Energy, Waste, and Water.
In the Pacific Northwest and Alaska region, the 2017 award winners are the Department of Interior Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park, Department of Energy Bonneville Power Administration, Department of Interior National Parks Service Cadillac Building, and the Department of Interior Whitman Mission National Historic Site. Below are descriptions of what the awardees achieved and/or how they achieved reductions. Below are descriptions of what the awardees achieved and ways they achieved reductions.
Innovation and Transportation
Department of Interior, Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park, Skagway, AK
Energy and fossil fuel reduction measures in rural Alaska are often more challenging to implement just due to the nature of the location and the increased costs associated with shipping and energy production. The challenge is increased when attempting to increase the energy efficiencies of historic buildings that were constructed under gold rush “boom town” architecture with very little attention paid to such concepts.
In FY13 Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park began implementing several goals to decrease use of fossil fuels. The Environmental Management System (EMS) Team’s innovative efforts originally focused on increasing efficiencies of fuel oil heating units and when possible eliminating outdated units from historic buildings altogether. Today this program spans building operations; lighting and controls; heating, ventilation and air conditioning settings; n weather stripping and building insulation upgrades.
Skagway’s power plant is gravity assisted hydroelectric and releases less than 1 percent CO2/kWh than the national average. Converting to electric heating units was an obvious choice. By the first quarter of 2017 these conversions resulted in annual reduction of fossil fuel use by 1565.45 gallons of heating fuel, eliminating an estimated 37,954 lbs. of GHG emissions. While electric heating systems are 100 percent efficient and greatly reduce GHG emissions, in Skagway they are also more expensive to operate due to high cost per kWh. The EMS Team decided the benefit of reducing the park’s carbon footprint outweighed the increase in cost per British thermal unit to heat the historic buildings. To offset the increased operating costs, the park began implementing alternative facility energy reductions. In FY14 the park replaced nearly 1,300 fluorescent lamps and incandescent bulbs with light-emitting diodes, resulting in a 73 percent reduction in energy costs for lighting. Other measures include increasing insulation in attic spaces, vacancy/occupancy lighting controls, and encouraging employees to turn off computer monitors, printers and copiers.
Additionally, through concerted efforts to reduce reliance on fossil fuel-based vehicles, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park has transitioned nearly 40 percent of its fleet to alternative fuel vehicles utilizing electric and hybrid technologies. This transition has benefited the park on multiple levels, as it has helped achieve carbon footprint reduction goals established as part of the park’s Environmental Management System Plan and Climate Friendly Parks Action Plan, and has also reduced the cost of operations. On average, the fossil fuel based vehicle fleet costs the park approximately 34 cents a mile. The electric and hybrid vehicles cost 11 to 13 cents per mile.
Leadership and Electronics
Department of Energy, Bonneville Power Administration, Portland, OR
Bonneville Power Administration's (BPA) Portland headquarters sits in the heart of the Lloyd neighborhood, a business district of 24,000 employees and 11 million square feet of development. In 2010, BPA’s Sustainability Program began a partnership with the Lloyd EcoDistrict nonprofit in an effort to transform this neighborhood into “the most sustainable business district in North America.” BPA has been key in maintaining momentum in projects, working group meetings, and reporting efforts. It has been a leader and “test case” for new methods and technologies, helped shape EcoDistrict strategy and priorities, and even provided capacity around data tracking and analysis. The agency considers its participation in Lloyd EcoDistrict a vital part of contributing to the neighborhood and supporting the communities it serves.
In FY 2016, BPA’s IT Asset Management team began a comprehensive review of its aging desktop systems and options for their replacement. The team sought out lightweight, energy efficient, robust office automation systems with life spans of at least five years. Through BPA’s Master Contract with Dell, the Agency was able to find systems that met all of these criteria—in addition to Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) Gold classification. BPA increased its EPEAT-registered electronics by 63.7 percent. Switching to EPEAT certified desktop systems and prioritizing this standard for all other purchases throughout the year has enabled BPA to increase its EPEAT purchases to 100 percent.
Department of Interior, National Park Service, Cadillac Building, Seattle, WA
The National Park Service’s Cadillac Building in Seattle repaired their heating, ventilation and air conditioning, which drove their gas and energy savings, enabling them to reduce natural gas consumption by 48 percent.
Department of Interior, Whitman Mission National Historic Site, Walla Walla, WA
The National Park Service at Whitman Mission National Historic Site strives to reduce water and energy consumption, and was able to reduce water usage by 36 percent. Reducing the amount of manicured and irrigated “lawns” in favor of more sustainable landscaping that uses native vegetation has the potential to nearly eliminate required irrigation. The native grasses and forbs also reduce the need for mowing and trimming, thereby lowering greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption.