Federal Green Challenge
National Federal Green Challenge Awards and Results
In 2012, nearly 300 participating agencies, representing over 500,000 federal employees, “walked the talk” in various target areas (Waste, Electronics, Purchasing, Water, Energy and/or Transportation) and reduced their environmental footprint, which in many cases also resulted in significant cost savings.
National results of FY12 participant actions were calculated based on annual incremental change and/or improvement in the various target areas.
Federal Agencies are recognized through the Federal Green Challenge for outstanding efforts that go beyond regulatory compliance and strive for annual improvements of five percent or more in selected target areas.This year, top ranking applicants receive the 2013 national data driven award in each of the target areas of Waste, Electronics, Purchasing, Energy and Transportation.
2013 FGC National Award Winners
Overall Achievement - Highest Overall Level of Performance
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), White Sands Test Facility, Las Cruces, NM
NASA White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) increased their amount of waste recycled from 158 tons in 2011 to 10,756 tons in 2012, resulting in a 6,708% improvement. They are being recognized for achieving the Highest Overall Level of Performance out of all participants in the nation. For years, concrete and asphalt construction waste from various improvement and construction projects accumulated at the WSTF. Twisted rebar embedded in the concrete complicated the debris piles. The piles of concrete and asphalt were identified, collected, and transported to a central processing area on site, where they were crushed by a permitted rock crusher and recycled to produce road base material for unpaved roads. In 2012, these concrete and asphalt debris piles were safely recycled into 10,712.5 tons of reusable material. As an alternative to purchasing new road base materials, WSTF now has reusable resources for future projects. The rebar and concrete bollards were separated out of the concrete and recycled. They generated 7 tons of recyclable scrap metal. In addition, excessive amounts of wooden pallets and scrap wood had also accumulated at WSTF. A rigorous effort collected these materials and processed the wood scrap into 43.5 tons of usable mulch for site landscaping.
Improvement by Target Area - Highest Increased Percentage Over Previous Year
Waste: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX
NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) increased their municipal solid waste composted from 16 tons in 2011 to 250 tons in 2012, resulting in a 1448% improvement. The JSC has greatly improved its composting program over the past two years, with dramatic increases in the amount of waste composted, as well as process improvements in our ability to measure and capture the results of their efforts. In 2010, they composted 54 tons of material, which included 250 cubic yards (CY) of leaves and yard waste. Through the efforts of their grounds contractor they made a giant leap in their program and composted 16 tons of cafeteria food scraps and 1,300 cubic yards of yard waste in 2011. This was a 520% increase in yard waste composting alone. Since beginning the composting program, JSC no longer needs to buy mulch and compost for regular grounds maintenance. This equates to a savings of over $7,000 per year through avoided purchases and $47,000 per year in avoided disposal costs.
Electronics: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Southwest Regional Office, Fort Worth, TX
The facility went from purchasing 75 EPEAT-registered equipment in 2011 to 184 EPEAT-registered equipment in 2012, resulting in a 145% improvement. The IT organizations within the Federal Administration Southwest Region created group policies requiring computers and monitors to be enabled for the “15 minute power safe” and “sleep” mode. The IT group also pushed a policy for printers to go to sleep after 6:00 pm daily and wake at 7:00 am.
Purchasing: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO
NREL continues to work to implement new policies and programs that increase the acquisition of sustainable products and engage in contracts consistent with EO13514. General Procurement was finalized and included a sustainable acquisition section. PC card and purchase request procedures were also finalized and implemented in FY 2012, requiring consideration of a sustainable product before purchasing. As part of NREL’s participation in the Federal Green Challenge, NREL pledged to increase environmentally preferable purchasing for campus activities by 5% in FY 2012 from a FY 2011 baseline. In order to meet the FGC goal, NREL identified the Green Cleaning Plan as one of its targets for FY 2012. The Green Cleaning Plan was, with the green janitorial contract in place, 100% of cleaning products used by the janitorial staff were bio-based and 100% of paper products used were made of recycled-content materials.
Energy: Department of Defense, Vermont Air National Guard, South Burlington, VT
The Vermont Air National Guard installed a 2.16 megawatt solar energy project consisting of 7,000 individual 230 watt solar panels in three separate systems covering over 11 acres. This project is meeting 34 percent of the Guard's electricity needs while saving an estimated $250,000 a year in energy costs. The installation is reported to be the largest of its kind in Vermont.
Transportation: Department of Veterans Affairs, Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, North Chicago, IL
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Lovell Federal Health Care Center (Lovell FHCC) in North Chicago, IL has been recognized for increasing their transportation fleet’s overall number of electric vehicles. As a result, Lovell received an EPA Federal Green Challenge Award in the transportation category. Lovell FHCC’s Interdisciplinary Green Environmental Management Systems (GEMS) committee used EPA’s Federal Green Challenge as the impetus to set a goal to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions produced by their 129-vehicle fleet. At the end of FY2011, Lovell FHCC only had one all-electric car and 45% of their fuel consumption came from tradition fuels like gasoline and diesel. Lovell FHCC looked into alternative fuel vehicles and purchased two new all-electric trucks, decreasing their fleet’s greenhouse gas emissions. By switching their fuel mix to include the use of biodiesel, larger amounts of E85 ethanol and electric vehicles, Lovell FHCC was able to decrease their tradition fuel consumption by 29%.