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Federal Green Challenge

2020 Federal Green Challenge Award Winners in the Pacific Northwest Region

Recognition is an important part of the Federal Green Challenge (FGC). Awards were given in the categories of energy, innovation, waste and water in the Pacific Northwest region.

In Region 10, which serves Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, the 2019 regional award winners are the Bonneville Power Administration; and the U.S. Coast Guard, Seattle Base Support Unit . The award winners shared details about their diversion activities, and about their awards with EPA. Below are the stories they tell behind their accomplishments.


Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard Base Seattle, Seattle, Wash.

The U.S. Coast Guard Base Seattle yielded a 31.2 percent reduction in electricity consumption in fiscal year 2019. In accordance with the Base Seattle’s Energy and Water Use Reduction Initiative, Base Seattle completed energy improvement projects over the last two years which helped to reduce both gas and electricity consumption in 2019. Base Seattle expanded their remote HVAC control system into nearly all buildings as well as replaced multiple HVAC units with more energy efficient units. This update to the HVAC control system allows remote control of the HVAC systems in multiple buildings as well as fine tuning of system components to reduce energy usage. The remote HVAC control system also allows for better management of temperature control in spaces and lengthens the life of system components. Base Seattle consolidated office space and relocated personnel to new offices which include energy efficient lighting and HVAC systems as well. Additional gas and electricity improvement projects included installations of LED lighting and energy efficient ballasts and appliances. These projects reduced energy consumption and will have a lasting impact on Base Seattle’s future energy use.

Waste, Water and Innovation

Department of Energy, Bonneville Power Administration, Portland, Ore.

The Bonneville Power Administration’s fiscal year 2019 waste reduction efforts resulted in a 13.8 percent drop in landfill waste compared to the previous year. BPA carefully manages agency equipment and materials at end-of-life and looks at more streamlined and proficient ways to manage materials handled on a day-to-day basis through recycling and waste reduction. Practices helping to reduce waste from entering landfills include upcycling and repurposing equipment for their intended use, as well as conducting substation cleanups, which help identify equipment and materials suitable for repurpose or for recycling as scrap. 

The Bonneville Power Administration yielded a 13 percent reduction in water consumption in fiscal year 2019. Through its successful Utilities Management Program, BPA was able to identify multiple agency facilities where possible management actions could reduce water consumption. The agency successfully implemented water conservation projects at multiple facilities, including reduced lawn irrigation times, low-flow capacity fixture replacements and leak repairs. These improvements reduced BPA’s water consumption by nearly 4 million gallons. 

The Bonneville Power Administration’s Utilities Management Program has been extremely successful and innovative in its ability to reduce resource consumption by agency facilities. Since the start of the Utilities Management Program in 2014, BPA has reduced its water consumption by 43 percent. In fiscal year 2019 alone, BPA completed over 30 strategic energy and water efficiency projects across its service territory (e.g., LED lighting retrofits, HVAC upgrades, building and system commissioning, and leak detection and repair). This approach has led to a decrease in energy consumption of over 1.5 million kBtus (2 percent) and a reduction in water consumption by nearly 4 million gallons (13 percent) in one year. All utility incentive dollars earned from projects – $248,200 in FY 19 – are directed back into a fund to support future utility efficiency initiatives. 

Prior to the Utilities Management Program, the agency lacked an integrated understanding of how much water and energy its facilities consumed or how to reduce this consumption, and site or district staff processed the water and energy bills for their respective facilities. However, following an in-depth analysis of the agency’s energy and water use, BPA developed its Utility Management Program, which frames standard operating procedures around data management, establishes a chain of accountability for performance and project results, and creates a regular forum for intra-agency coordination on projects, policies and performance targets. Groups across the agency now have the ability to review water and power use and coordinate plans to address excessive consumption.  

When sites display higher-than-average utility consumption, staff responsible for the program conduct on-site visits and work with the field technicians to identify causes of consumption increase and develop corrective actions to address them. The site visits increase BPA’s efficiency in identifying issues of malfunction and misuse, which can significantly affect consumption. Site visits are also a vital communication link between BPA’s Portland headquarters and the district managers, substation operators and maintenance crews in the field. 

The innovative Utilities Management Program has led to changes in business processes and empowered the workforce to find ways to improve sustainability performance. Since the program’s establishment, it has produced significant value to BPA, saving millions of dollars in utility bills and generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in incentives. It has allowed the agency to dive into the risks and opportunities associated with the way it consumes resources, as well as increased the useful life of its assets. Overall, the program truly exemplifies BPA’s core values of collaborative relationships, operational excellence, and trustworthy stewardship.

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