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News Releases

News Releases from Region 09

EPA Recognizes Federal Green Challenge Winners in California for Conserving Resources and Promoting Efficiency

Contact Information: 
Alejandro Diaz (

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes federal facilities in California and nationwide for effectively applying measures to conserve money and resources as part of the Federal Green Challenge program. The Challenge is a national EPA effort which encourages federal agencies to reduce the federal government's environmental impact.

“We recognize our federal agency counterparts in California who have implemented innovative programs to achieve outstanding environmental and economic results,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud.

In fiscal year 2019 (FY19), national Federal Green Challenge participants reduced their environmental impact throughout the waste stream, including by:

  • Sending nearly 180 tons of end-of-life electronics to third-party certified recyclers.
  • Diverting more than 600,000 tons of waste from landfills.
  • Adding nearly 5,000 electric, hybrid, and alternative fuel vehicles to their fleets.
  • Recycling 180 million gallons of water.

EPA is recognizing these Californian top performers today:

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Western Laboratory; Pleasanton, Calif.

Electronics (National Winner)/Leadership (Regional Winner)

Over the last year, the DEA Western Laboratory increased electronics recycled through a third-party certified recycler or donated to colleges/universities by 92.9% (0.54 tons of electronics recycled/donated in FY19 compared to 0.28 tons in FY18). Whenever possible, the laboratory purchases Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) Silver-certified electronic products and holds multiple personal electronics recycling drives for its employees. In FY19, 0.44 tons of personal electronics were recycled.

In 2019, DEA’s Western Laboratory joined the PG&E Solar Choice Program, using Green-e Energy certification, which provides clean renewable electricity from solar arrays in Northern California. Their participation accounted for 100% of the Laboratory’s energy and was a contributing factor in increasing DEA’s agency-wide renewable energy content from 2% in FY17 to over 10% in FY19.

In addition to its Federal Green Challenge national award, the DEA Western Laboratory is also being honored with a Regional EPA Environmental Leadership award.

“Led by its Environmental Management System (EMS) team, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Western Laboratory staff is committed to environmental sustainability and reducing our operational footprint.  For example, over the last year, the Western Laboratory effected a 93% increase in electronics either recycled through a 3rd party certified recycler or donated to colleges/universities. We hope to continue our tradition of improvement and innovation, implementing practices that will preserve and protect our environment in the years to come,” said Esther W. Chege, laboratory director of the DEA Western Laboratory.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service National Greening Fire Team, Region 5; Vallejo, Calif.

Innovation (Regional Winner)

The National Greening Fire Team (GFT) established a vision of achieving net zero waste at all large fire incidents by 2030 and a mission of integrating sustainable operation best practices into the fire response community. The GFT, comprised of 18 members from the USDA Forest Service, is a partnership with the Washington Office of Fire and Aviation Management that serves to research, recommend, and assist with implementing sustainability best management practices in incident operations.

In FY19, the GFT established an on-site Incident Recycling Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) spanning three years and four Geographic Area Coordination Centers covering Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. The BPA offered standardized recycling practices and waste diversion reporting to improve waste diversion with less strain on in-house personnel. The BPA was used on nine fires in 2019 across all four areas.

“The GFT’s efforts are in direct service to the USDA Forest Service’s conservation mission,” said Kelly Jaramillo, the Forest Service Region 3 sustainable operations coordinator and Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) program lead. “USFS Fire operations have an extensive supply chain, resulting in substantial resource consumption. The scope of wildfire response efforts presents an opportunity to manifest our mission through efficient federal operations.”

U.S. General Services Administration, 1st Street Federal Courthouse; Los Angeles, Calif.

Energy (Regional Winner)

The United States Courthouse was designed and constructed to meet the requirements of LEED Platinum for new buildings, a certification received shortly after construction was completed in 2016. In FY19, the property achieved a 30 percent reduction in electricity use and a 41 percent decrease in natural gas use, which was achieved through the efforts of the property management, onsite maintenance, regional support and tenants.

Property management and preventative maintenance of the building systems have contributed to strong energy conservation efforts. In 2018, the photovoltaic system was activated, which produced approximately 501,084 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year of electricity. By optimizing building start-stop times, tracking energy through the use of sensors, and operating a heat pump chiller during low-strain times, building staff significantly reduced overall energy use.

“GSA continues to make progress in reducing energy consumption at the new Los Angeles Federal Courthouse,” said Lorenzo Davis, director of the Los Angeles Service Center. “In fiscal year 2019, we saw a 30-percent reduction in energy usage through the efforts of our property management and on-site maintenance teams, our regional support and tenants.”

U.S. Army Reserve, 63rd Readiness Division; Mountain View, Calif.

Water (Regional Winner)

The U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) 63rd Readiness Division (RD) reduced water use dramatically in 2019. A 39.3% reduction across USAR locations brought use down from 38,860,000 gallons in 2018 to 23,600,000 gallons in 2019 and resulted in a water cost savings of $62,000.

The project began when the 63rd RD enhanced the tracking of water consumption and cost. Utilizing reporting across their numerous USAR sites helped the 63rd RD establish better goals. This information led to the repair of restroom leaks and updates to fixtures at nine locations, xeriscaping (landscaping that reduces or eliminates the need for additional irrigation water) of grounds at four facility locations and the utilization of a utility company’s direct install program to replace shower heads and faucet aerators.

"The 63rd RD discovered a wide-scale solution to decrease water consumption while increasing stewardship of resources," said Jeff Ferrell, Services/Energy Programs Manager at the 63rd RD. “Most importantly, our efforts directly support Army Reserve water conservation and resiliency efforts. As we modernize our facilities and ensure they operate without disruption, our Soldiers can remain focused on achieving the mission."

For more information on the EPA Federal Green Challenge and this year’s winners, visit

For more information on the EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Program, visit

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