2018 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, outreach and education, purchasing, waste, and water in the Pacific Northwest region.
In Region 10, which serves Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, the 2018 regional award winners are the Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District; 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.
Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, Seattle, Wash.
The Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District reduced is electricity consumption by 9.76 percent.
With full engagement and active participation from the Veterans Affairs and General Services Administration, the Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District has successfully sustained the Oxbow Building interagency Green Team, providing necessary leadership and outreach to collaboratively promote energy reduction. The success and acceptance of ideas from both building occupants and the Green Team have resulted in this positive reduction of energy consumption, ultimately reducing the building's carbon footprint and benefiting the surrounding environment. Years of Green Team outreach, communication and leadership have built upon this culture and way of life.
Innovation and Purchasing
Department of Energy, Bonneville Power Administration, Portland, Ore.
The Bonneville Power Administration received the Regional Purchasing Award for reducing its printer and copier paper purchased by 16.1 percent, and an innovation award for efforts related to xeriscaping techniques at different BPA sites.
BPA’s paper reduction strategies are diverse. To minimize paper use by individuals, the Workplace Services Group and its Printer Team implemented default double-sided printing and the auto-deletion of print jobs that sit in the printing queue too long. They also established new procedures to reduce paper hoarding. Within Media Services and the Print Shop, a validation process ensures that requested print jobs are in line with BPA’s mission (while not 100 percent of printing requests are vetted this way, we have greatly increased the frequency of these kinds of check-ins). For items that are printed regularly, there is the option to elect electronic versions rather than paper. And finally, it is BPA policy that large print jobs go through the Print Shop—not local office printers. By regularly reminding individuals of this policy, BPA raises awareness about excess printing and promotes a “think twice” mentality around large print jobs.
BPA completed the implementation of three xeriscaping pilot projects at three of its substations. The goal of these projects was to reduce water consumption from irrigation, increase the ability to manage stormwater runoff onsite, and to see if similar projects could be implemented at other sites across BPA’s service area. While xeriscaping has been around for decades, it is still a relatively novel practice for large institutions. It is mostly concentrated in residential areas in states with historically low rainfall, such as in the southwest United States. In the Pacific Northwest, which has abundant rainfall and low water prices, large-scale commercial xeriscaping projects are still comparatively rare.
Combined, the three pilots have collectively saved nearly two million gallons of water in a single year. With the success of these pilots, BPA is moving ahead with six additional xeriscaping projects (and likely more in coming years). Some co-benefits of this project included lower maintenance costs, as xeriscaped vegetation needs less active care and management; reduced ecological impact from fertilizers and herbicides; increased habitat for pollinators; and improved infiltration of stormwater onsite, reducing or eliminating runoff that flows into municipal systems.
Outreach and Education, and Waste
Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, Seattle, Wash.
The Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District increased its recycled materials collected by 62.7 percent, and increased outreach and education efforts to improve its recycling and waste sorting. It conducted an education and outreach effort to improve recycling and waste sorting at its facility, Federal Center South. Efforts led by the Army Corps Green Team included posting outreach materials near waste sorting stations in the kitchens and throughout the building, promoting recycling during building events, employing a district-wide sustainability policy encouraging recycling, and continued engagement and facility-wide messaging from the Green Team.
The communication and outreach strategies led to reaching a high number of facility employees, which in turn resulted in an increase of recycled materials by 62.7 percent from last year. As the Green Team continues educating employees and providing easy-to-read guidance and clarification for proper waste disposal, its impacts will continue to benefit the environment and significantly reduce the amount of waste generated and sent to landfills. Recycling and appropriate waste separation is becoming a major part of the daily routine.
U.S. Coast Guard, Seattle Base Support Unit, Seattle, Wash.
The Seattle Base Support Unit continuously looks for options to reduce water and energy consumption, and it reduced its potable water usage by almost 19 percent in 2017. To realize water efficiencies, Base Seattle is using a combination of projects that include an advanced metering system, low-flow fixtures, native landscaping, and customer awareness, both ashore and afloat. Base Seattle also has been proactive with utility bill scrutiny, which revealed several large quantity tenant consumers and the identification of an underground valve leak.