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EPA Recognizes Fed Agencies in Northwest & Alaska Saving Resources and Taxpayer Money

Park Service, Bonneville Power Administration make smart investments to reduce fuel costs, waste

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Bill Dunbar (

Seattle – Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes the efforts of federal facilities that took steps to improve efficiency, save resources and reduce costs as part of the Federal Green Challenge (FGC).

“Federal agencies across the country are doing their part to minimize their environmental impact, in doing so saving American taxpayers millions of dollars,” EPA Administrator Pruitt said. “Their efforts resulted in an estimated cost savings of $17 million across the federal government.”

Through their involvement, FGC participants reduced the federal government’s environmental impact by reducing fuel oil consumption by more than 500,000 gallons, sending 310 tons of end-of-life electronics to third-party certified recyclers, saving 9.2 million gallons of industrial water, and diverting over 336,000 tons of waste from landfills.

FGC, now in its fifth year, is a yearlong commitment under EPA's Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Program in which participants focus on efficiently managing their resources to reduce the costs of building operations, maintenance and supplies. Specifically, participants track their data in two of six categories for a year.

EPA has awarded the following participants for their efforts in improving the efficiency of their facilities in FY16:

  • The Bonneville Power Administration in Portland, Oregon increased Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) registered electronics by 63.7 percent, so that 100 percent of electronics are now EPEAT registered. The EPEAT system assists in the purchase of "greener" PCs and Displays, Imaging Equipment and Televisions. In FY 2016, BPA’s IT Asset Management sought out lightweight, energy efficient, robust office automation systems with life spans of at least five years. Through BPA’s Master Contract with Dell, the agency was able to find systems that met all of these criteria – in addition to EPEAT Gold classification, thus enabling BPA to increase its EPEAT purchases to 100 percent.
  • BPA’s headquarters sits in the heart of the Lloyd neighborhood, a business district of 24,000 employees and 11 million square feet of development. In 2010, BPA’s Sustainability Program partnered with the Lloyd EcoDistrict nonprofit in an effort to transform this neighborhood into “the most sustainable business district in North America.” BPA has been a leader and “test case” for new methods and technologies, helped shape EcoDistrict strategy and priorities, and even provided capacity around data tracking and analysis. The agency considers its participation in Lloyd EcoDistrict a vital part of supporting the communities it serves.
  • Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park in Skagway, Alaska. Energy and fossil fuel reduction measures in rural Alaska are often more challenging to implement just due to the nature of the location and the increased costs associated with shipping and energy production. The challenge is increased when attempting to boost the energy efficiencies of historic buildings constructed with Gold Rush “boom town” architecture when little attention was paid to efficiency. In FY13 Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park began sought to decrease use of fossil fuels, efforts originally focused on increasing efficiencies of fuel oil heating units and eliminating outdated units from old buildings. Today this program spans building operations, lighting and controls, HVAC settings, weather stripping, and insulation upgrades. Skagway’s power plant is gravity assisted hydroelectric and releases less than 1 percent CO2/kWh of the national average plant, thus converting to electric heating units was an obvious choice. By the 1st quarter of 2017 these conversions resulted in annual reduction of 1565 gallons of heating fuel, eliminating an estimated 37,954 lbs of GHG emissions. While electric heating systems are 100 percent efficient and greatly reduce GHG emissions, in Skagway they’re also more expensive to operate due to high cost per kWh. The Environmental Management System Team decided the benefit of reducing the park’s carbon footprint outweighed the increase in cost per BTU to heat the historic buildings. To offset the increased operating costs the park began implementing alternative facility energy reductions. In FY14 the park replaced nearly 1,300 fluorescent lamps and incandescent bulbs with LEDs, resulting in a 73 percent reduction in lighting costs.
  • Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park also doubled its fleet of alternative fuel vehicles by transitioning nearly 40 percent of its fleet to electric and hybrid vehicles. As part the park’s Environmental Management System Plan and Climate Friendly Parks Action Plan, the switch has reduced the cost of fleet operations from $0.34/mile for fossil fuel vehicles to $0.11-$0.13 for the electric and hybrid vehicles.
  • Whitman Mission National Historic Site in Walla Walla, Washington, reduced water usage by 36 percent. The National Park Service at Whitman Mission National Historic Site strives to reduce water and energy consumption, and reducing the amount of manicured and irrigated “lawns” in favor of more sustainable landscaping using native vegetation has the potential to nearly eliminate required irrigation. The native grasses and forbs also reduce the need for mowing and trimming thereby lowering greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption.

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