2019 Federal Green Challenge Award Winners in the South Central Region
Recognition is an important part of the Federal Green Challenge (FGC). Awards were given in the categories of innovation, education and outreach, leadership, energy, waste, waste diversion and water in the South Central region.
In Region 6, which serves Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and 66 Tribal Nations, the 2018 regional award winners are the Department of Veterans Affairs, Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center; Region 6 National Aeronautics and Space Administration, White Sands Test Facility; General Services Administration, 1 Justice Park Drive; General Services Administration, Earle Cabell Federal Building; General Services Administration, Hale Boggs Federal Building and District Courthouse; and General Services Administration U.S. Custom House. The award winners shared details about their diversion activities, and about their awards with EPA. Below are the stories they tell behind their accomplishments.
Innovation, Education and Outreach, and Leadership
Department of Veterans Affairs, Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center, Bonham, Texas
Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center is working to meet the Federal Government requirements by taking small steps to improve the facility’s impact on the community and the environment. We have improved education and outreach efforts by providing various training events throughout the year. These events range from Earth Day, open houses, and zero scaping for the Domiciliary patients. Our New Employee Orientation Program is constantly evolving to improve employee engagement by offering self-improvement opportunities and employee focused events. These events foster employee engagement by illustrating how recycling can be fun and innovative. Our approach incorporates a recycled fashion show, recycled art, Green Environmental Management System (aka GEMS) awareness training, Greenhouse demonstration and a plant sale/fundraiser. These events have given us the opportunity to progress toward our objectives to increase water conservation, reduce our energy consumption and highlight the initiatives our employees have implemented.
The Center’s leadership is centered in healthcare and environmental improvements. The employees experience the difference this makes and learn how it impacts the environment. The Greenhouse upgrade and water harvesting contributed to a significant reduction in water and energy consumption.
Region 6 National Aeronautics and Space Administration, White Sands Test Facility, Las Cruces, N.M.
The NASA White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) Site-Wide Sustainability Working Group developed the Reuse Market Place (ReMaP) as part of the “Use Less Stuff” initiative. ReMaP is a software application that allows employees to post items (e.g., furniture, office supplies and usable chemical products) for other departments to claim for reuse on-site at no cost. Everything from bookshelves and file folders to eyewash stations and tool chests have been posted and claimed through the ReMaP application. Employees can check the ReMaP inventory and request items they need prior to procuring new materials. ReMaP is one tool available within the main Sustainability Program Application, which can be loaded on any NASA owned computer.
Providing a marketplace for unwanted materials to all WSTF departments encourages cleanup of storage areas, extends the life of usable equipment and products, reduces redundant purchases, and, in the case of chemical reuse, decreases the amount of hazardous waste generated at WSTF. Since FY2017, reuse through ReMaP has saved WSTF over $45K through cost avoidance.
Not all reusable products posted on ReMaP are claimed on-site. After a designated period, the WSTF Property and Environmental Departments evaluate unclaimed items for resale or recycling value. These materials are then posted for reuse on the GSA website, recycled, or made available for community reuse through a partnership with the South-Central Solid Waste Authority (SCSWA) in Las Cruces, New Mexico. WSTF has diverted approximately 10 tons of unclaimed ReMaP materials from the landfill through the SCSWA Recycling Program.
General Services Administration, 1 Justice Park Drive, Houston, Texas
The General Services Administration's 1 Justice Park Drive Federal Building in Houston, TX reduced the amount of natural gas it consumed from 2,218,539 cubic feet in 2017 to 1,269,020 cubic feet in 2018, resulting in a 42.80 percent improvement.
General Services Administration, Earle Cabell Federal Building, Dallas, Texas
The General Services Administration's Earle Cabell Federal Building and Courthouse increased its municipal solid waste composted from 2.59 tons in 2017 to 25.58 tons in 2018, resulting in a 776 percent improvement. The Courthouse was able to achieve this improvement when they replaced their landscaping to improve visibility in their crosswalk and promote a safer environment near their building. The building also works with its custodial contractor to ensure that all landscaping waste removed from site is composted and diverted from landfills.
General Services Administration, Hale Boggs Federal Building and District Courthouse, New Orleans, La.
The General Services Administration’s Hale Boggs Federal Building and District Courthouse diverted 83.69 percent of their waste material in FY2018. This diversion rate would not be possible without the partnership between GSA building management and their custodial contractor Pride Industries. New Orleans Building Management and Pride Industries have been recognized as leaders in recycling efforts in Region 7 GSA for the past several years. The New Orleans team continually strives to improve their waste diversion program.
General Services Administration U.S. Custom House, New Orleans, La.
The General Services Administration’s New Orleans Custom House is receiving an award for reducing its use of potable water from 1,513,899 gallons in 2017, to 372,950 gallons in 2018, resulting in a 75.36 percent improvement.