2017 National Federal Green Challenge Award Winners
Recognition is a key element of the EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Program and the Federal Green Challenge (FGC). FGC awards are offered in two categories – data driven and narrative. Data driven awards, given in the six target areas of Waste, Electronics, Purchasing, Energy, Water and Transportation, are based on the greatest percentage of change over the previous year. Narrative awards are self-nominating and are given in the categories of Innovation, Education and Outreach, and Leadership.
The 2017 FGC awards recognize the achievements of participating facilities in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. In FY16, 264 federal facilities took steps to improve efficiency, save resources and reduce costs as part of the Challenge. Participants saved more than $17 million across natural gas, fuel oil, paper purchasing, water and municipal solid waste (MSW) categories.
Across the six main target areas, we are pleased to recognize the following FGC participants for their significant efforts in improving the sustainability of their facilities and for their leadership in reducing the environmental footprint of federal government activities, which saves taxpayer dollars.
Department of Defense, Vermont Army National Guard, Jericho, VT
The Vermont Army National Guard’s (VTARNG) Camp Ethan Allen Training Site is an 11,000-acre facility that hosts the Army Mountain Warfare School, the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and units from all over New England.
One of the facility’s greatest challenges is to educate visiting soldiers about the programs and procedures that reduce the site’s environmental footprint. In particular, many trainees come from states that don’t offer recycling or composting programs, and since trainees don’t recycle or compost at home, they need assistance on base. To address this situation, the Vermont Army National Guard instituted a variety of strategies, including the installation of new signage at the recycling transfer station; the setup of color-coded recycling, composting and trash bins; and the distribution of recycling procedures, handouts and reminder emails. Special dumpsters for compostable waste collection were purchased and placed in proximity to the site’s dining halls, which, have been reconfigured to make composting easier. Additionally, special bins have been placed in the dining halls’ bathrooms to collect paper towel waste.
State Maintenance, Environmental Office, and full-time National Guard employees oversee the recycling and composting programs and, at times, dumpster dive to remove noncompliant items thrown in the wrong bin. VTARNG staff used a "top down" approach when briefing incoming commanders and units on recycling and composting requirements, and on corrective actions for noncompliance. These education and outreach efforts paid off, increasing the amount of composted material collected from .35 tons in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 to 8.11 tons in FY16, representing a 2217 percent increase in composting and reducing the amount of trash sent to the landfill by 7.6 percent.
Electronics And Water
Department of Energy, East Tennessee Technology Park, Oak Ridge, TN
The DOE East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) achieved remarkable success in the target area of electronics. In 2016, ETTP increased its new EPEAT-registered purchases to 857 units. This represents a 1,328 percent increase from the previous year’s electronics purchases. The equipment includes gold, silver and bronze labeled EPEAT-registered monitors, CPUs and laptops. The ETTP was also able to decrease the number of devices onsite, which in turn amounted to a considerable amount of cost-savings. In total, ETTP purchased 99.77 percent EPEAT-registered products in 2016. In addition, 11.6 tons of electronics were recycled through a third- party certified recycler.
ETTP also achieved outstanding success in the target area of water. In 2016, ETTP decreased its total potable water consumption to 39,796,000 gallons, which represents a 70 percent decrease in water consumption from the previous year.
Department of Veterans Affairs, Minneapolis Health Care System, Minneapolis, MN
The Minneapolis VA Health Care System reduced its purchase of printer and copier paper by 44 percent by encouraging staff to set printer defaults to duplex printing and by saving documents in electronic format rather than printing and storing hard copies. The facility reduced its paper purchased from 340,000 lbs. in FY15 to 191,000 lbs. in FY16. These behavioral changes resulted in savings of more than 74 tons of paper, as well as energy, waste recycling and disposal costs.
Department of Veterans Affairs, Connecticut Health Care System, West Haven Campus, West Haven, CT
The Connecticut VA Healthcare System, West Haven Campus, reduced the amount of fuel oil it consumed from 74,716 to 31,584 gallons, a 58 percent reduction from the previous year. To achieve this reduction, the facility team repaired steam leaks and improved condensate flow for the hospital’s three dual-fuel boilers. By partially transitioning to natural gas, the facility reduced fuel costs for heating the campus and by sterilizing medical equipment with steam. The Connecticut VA Healthcare System was able to reduce1,974,066 pounds of CO2 equivalent and 1,335 lbs. reduction in VOCs.
Department of Veterans Affairs, James E. Van Zandt Medical Center, Altoona, PA
The James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center in Altoona, Penn., 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.