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Federal Green Challenge

2018 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 fiscal year. Narrative awards are self-nominating and are given in the categories of Innovation, Education and Outreach, and Leadership. Additionally, for the first time in 2018, awards will be given for the highest percentage of materials managed during one fiscal year.

The 2018 FGC awards recognize the achievements of participating facilities in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. In FY17, 284 federal facilities took steps to improve efficiency, save resources and reduce costs as part of the Challenge. Participants saved nearly $22 million across natural gas, fuel oil, paper purchasing, water and municipal solid waste categories.

Across the six main target areas and the highest percentage of materials managed, 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 and conserves resources.

Highest Percentage of Materials Managed

General Services Administration, Fort Worth Federal Center, Fort Worth, TX

Trophy Icon with "2018"The Fort Worth Federal Center is a 187-acre campus that is home to the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Resources and Conservation Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Geological Services, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This site achieved a 97percent diversion rate in FY17. This diversion rate was achieved through a combined recycling effort from the tenant's, tenant agencies and the Custodial contractor, Goodwill Industries of Fort Worth.

Highest Percentage of Materials Managed

U.S. Department of Energy, Bonneville Power Administration, Portland, OR

Trophy Icon with "2018"The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) considers waste reduction and recovery an agency-wide priority. To achieve its 92 percent diversion rate, the highest-impact facilities (Portland headquarters and the Ross Complex) undergo waste audits every few years to determine the makeup and contamination level of its landfill, recycling and compost materials streams. In response to its FY17 audit, for example, Ross Facilities reduced the use of Styrofoam in their cafeteria by providing durable to-go options for customers. At the headquarters building, Workplace Services partnered with the Sustainability Program to design signage and engagement programs to encourage proper recycling and composting of materials. BPA’s Investment Recovery Center (IRC) is also instrumental in the responsible diversion of unwanted or surplus materials. For instance, last year the IRC undertook a massive substation cleanup effort that resulted in the recycling of 128 tons of materials that would have otherwise gone to a landfill. Overall, the IRC recovered over 2,000 tons of waste in FY17.

Electronics and Transportation

The Department of Veterans Affairs, Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center, Bonham, TX

Trophy Icon with "2018"The Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center (Rayburn VA Medical Center), located in Bonham, Texas, has increased its alternative Fuel Vehicle and Hybrid Electric fleet from 91 to 167 vehicles. Federal mandates and other Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) policy, along with resources and tools such as those provided by the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Sustainable Facilities Tool/Green Procurement Compilation Website and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Federal Green Challenge, help this facility effectively manage its fleet vehicles for energy efficient, low emitting greenhouse gas emissions, and keep the fleet updated with dependable and reliable vehicles with the support of GSA Fleet Representatives to ensure that proper vehicles are procured. Second, the Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center increased bike miles traveled from six to 80 miles. VA’s commitment to minimize its environmental footprint while maximizing life cycle energy cost savings is reflected in the efforts of this facility to provide the best service in the most healthful setting possible for this nation’s veterans.

The Rayburn VA Medical Center increased its purchasing of Electronic Product Environmental Assessment (EPEAT)-registered electronics by 542 percent over last year, from 87 to 559 units. Resources and tools such as those provided by VA’s Office of Acquisition and Logistics help this facility effectively manage its electronic assets in an environmentally sound way throughout their life cycle. VA’s commitment to buying “greener” electronics that minimize environmental footprint while maximizing life cycle energy cost savings is reflected in the efforts of this facility to provide the best service in the most healthful setting possible for this nation’s veterans.


Department of Energy, East Tennessee Technology Park, Oak Ridge, TN

Trophy Icon with "2018"The Department of Energy’s East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) achieved success for their renewable energy efforts on-site. In 2017, renewable energy credits purchased by the site and solar energy produced and sold back to the grid totaled 20,228,000 kWh. This far exceeded the 13,543,000 kWh used at the site during the same time period. In addition, in 2016, the renewable energy purchased or installed on-site was 19,968.00 kWh. In 2017, the renewable energy purchased or installed on-site increased to 149,361.29 kWh. This success resulted in an increase of renewable energy purchased or installed by 648 percent. This achievement is largely due to the decreasing square footage using energy with the mission of site demolition and closure by 2020. The ETTP uses several photovoltaic solar arrays of south-facing Tennessee-made solar panels that are installed around the Heritage Center on site. The tracking arrays on-site are built on land that is not suitable for other uses due to contamination at the property.


Region 6 Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), El Paso Intelligence Center, El Paso, TX

Trophy Icon with "2018"The El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC), through their Environmental Stewardship Guidance memorandum, requires double-sided imaging for most of the facility printing equipment. With the implementation of this initiative, along with monitoring of purchases and distribution, EPIC has achieved a reduction in the use of paper at its national-level law enforcement center. EPIC reduced the amount of paper purchased by 53 percent from 4,500 pounds in FY16 to 2,099 pounds in FY17. EPIC has promoted behavioral changes for paper use and continues to encourage its employees to use electronic format files rather than the printing and storing of hard copies. These efforts also contribute in the savings of energy and disposal costs as EPIC continues to work on goals with its environmental partners at Fort Bliss and the El Paso, Texas, communities.


U.S. Department of Transportation Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, Cambridge, MA

Trophy Icon with "2018"The U.S. Department of Transportation Volpe National Transportation Systems Center was founded in 1970 to address emerging transportation issues related to safety, infrastructure, and innovation. Their 13-story office building in Cambridge, Mass., hosts 1,100 employees on 14 acres of land. In 2017, the Volpe Green Team joined with food service management to establish a back-of-the-house “compost” program designed to capture organic waste from the food preparation stations. Although a small compost program for coffee grounds was established several years earlier, this expanded program called for new equipment, training on food waste management procedures, and modified operations with the building’s waste hauler. 

The benefits of the new program were appreciated by cafeteria staff who noted that food scraps, now collected and stored in a walk-in freezer, were no longer causing smells in the kitchen. By the end of the fiscal year, the food waste diversion program sent 4.4 tons of food scraps to an anaerobic digester that generated electricity from bio-gas. Based on the success of this program, the Volpe Center plans to expand the food waste collection program to the front-of-the-house, where cafeteria customers can continue to help divert food waste from landfills.


The Drug Enforcement Agency, Southeast Laboratory, Miami, FL

Trophy Icon with "2018"The DEA Southeast Laboratory reduced potable water use by 69 percent, from 950,710 gallons to 293,964 gallons. The facility currently utilizes a Deionized Water Purification System to remove impurities from the water supply. The previous Deionized Water Purification System was allowing the excess purified water to discharge into the drain. The Southeast Laboratory implemented a system to allow the discharged water to recirculate to a holding tank. This system also has the ability to operate continuously, even when off-line, to minimize excess water waste. Since the re-routing system was implemented, the laboratory has seen a dramatic decrease in water consumption.   

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