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Four Pennsylvania Federal Facilities Recognized for Going Green

Efforts save resources and taxpayers’ money

Contact Information: 
Katherine Wzorek (

PHILADELPHIA (June 18, 2018) –  Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes federal facilities for conserving resources and saving taxpayers’ money as part of the Federal Green Challenge (FGC). These efforts across the federal government have not only resulted in approximately $22 million in cost savings in the last year, but also further the goals of the President’s May 17, 2018, Executive Order (EO) Regarding Efficient Federal Operations.

“Federal agencies nationwide challenge themselves to improve efficiency and minimize environmental impact, and their achievements are saving American taxpayers tens of millions of dollars,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

In 2017, FGC participants reduced the federal government’s environmental impact by reducing fuel oil consumption by more than 206,000 gallons, sending nearly 300 tons of end-of-life electronics to third-party certified recyclers, using almost 59 million fewer gallons of industrial, landscaping and agricultural water, and diverting over 422,000 tons of waste from landfills. Participants also prevented more than 840 tons of food from being landfilled through food donation and composting efforts.

FGC participants are leading the way in advancing the goals of the President’s EO, which directs agencies to prioritize reducing waste, to enhance the resiliency of Federal infrastructure and operations, and to track reductions to ensure accountability.

In Pennsylvania, EPA recognized four federal facilities:

James E. Van Zandt Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Altoona for improving business practices that reduced waste and used environmentally safe products at several hospitals.

Wilkes-Barre Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre for implementing a medical waste program that helps to divert pharmaceutical waste from entering waterways and landfills.

*  Joseph F. Weis, Jr. U.S. Courthouse (managed by GSA’s Pittsburgh Field Office) in Pittsburgh for increasing their composting efforts and diverting waste from landfills.

*  Merit Systems Protection Board in Philadelphia for reducing air travel by 25 percent and using alternate meeting practices.

“The Federal Green Challenge encourages federal agencies to lead the way in sustainable practices,” said EPA Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio.  “The efforts by these federal agencies in Pennsylvania show the great impact that we can have in improving the environment.”

EPA has awarded the following participants for their efforts in improving the efficiency of their facilities in FY17:

FY17 Highest Percentage of Materials Managed:

*  The General Services Administration’s Fort Worth Federal Center in Fort Worth, Texas, managed its materials for a 97 percent diversion rate in FY17.

*  The U.S. Department of Energy’s Bonneville Power Administration in Portland, Ore., managed over 92 percent of the materials in its waste stream in FY17 (2,410 tons recycled, 28.8 tons composted, 202.7 tons landfilled).

Improvement by Target Area – Highest Increased Percentage Over Previous Year:

*  Waste: The Department of Transportation’s Volpe National Transportation Systems in Cambridge, Mass., increased collection of compost from 0.2 tons to 4.4 tons, from FY16 to FY17. 

*  Electronics: The Veterans Administration’s Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center in Bonham, Texas, increased its purchasing of EPEAT registered electronics 542 percent, from 87 to 559.

*  Purchasing: The Drug Enforcement Administration’s El Paso Division in El Paso, Texas, reduced paper purchased 53 percent from 4,500 lbs. down to 2,099 lbs.

Energy: The Department of Energy’s East Tennessee Technology Park in Oak Ridge, Tenn., increased their renewable energy purchased or installed on site by 648 percent from 19,968 kWh to 149,361 kWh.

Water: The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Southeast Laboratory in Miami, Fla., reduced potable water use to 69 percent from 950,710 gallons to 293,964 gallons.

Transportation: The Veterans Administration’s Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center in Bonham, Texas, increased its number of hybrid vehicles by 260 percent from five to 18, and increased the number of alternative fuel vehicles by 84 percent from 91 to 167.

The FGC is a voluntary, fiscal 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.

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