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Federal Green Challenge

2018 Federal Green Challenge Award Winners in the South Central Region

Recognition is an important part of the Federal Green Challenge (FGC). Awards were given in the categories of education and outreach in the South Central region.

In Region 6, which serves Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and 66 Tribal Nations, the 2018 regional award winners are the Drug Enforcement Administration’s El Paso Division, the General Services Administration (GSA)’s Fort Worth Federal Center, the Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center, GSA’s Bob Casey Courthouse, and GSA’s Pete Domenici Courthouse. The award winners shared details about their diversion activities, and about their awards with EPA. Below are the stories they tell behind their accomplishments.

Education and Outreach Narrative

Drug Enforcement Administration, El Paso Intelligence Center, El Paso, Texas

2018 AwardThe Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration, El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC), has provided information on waste reduction and recycling to all of its employees through multiple ways. It reached out to employees and visitors through emails and informal training presentations, and also posted educational posters in break areas and on office bulletin boards. This ensured that they had the opportunity to receive valuable environmental program information and training in the Federal Green Challenge target areas. This information covered topics that included commingled and electronics recycling, hazardous waste disposal, Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT)-purchasing, green procurement, and the paper saving process.

EPIC’s education and outreach allowed it to achieve a nearly 80 percent diversion rate for solid waste by recycling 11 tons of commingled products. 0.37 tons of toner cartridges, 0.10 tons of various types of batteries and 0.73 tons of wooden pallets.

In addition, EPIC recycled 5.62 tons of unusable and unserviceable electronics. This included outdated computers, keyboards, televisions, servers, routers, refrigerators, small appliances, and pretty much anything that operates with a power cord.

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Electronics

Drug Enforcement Administration, El Paso Intelligence Center, El Paso, Texas

2018 AwardThe Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration, El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC), increased its amount of Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT)-registered units from 130 units in 2016 to 676 in 2017, resulting in a 420 percent improvement. EPIC follows its Environmental Stewardship Directive requiring that all purchased electronic equipment is environmentally preferable, Energy Star-qualified, EPEAT-registered, and FEMP-designated when applicable.

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Energy

General Services Administration, Fort Worth Federal Center, Fort Worth, Texas

2018 AwardThe General Services Administration’s Fort Worth Federal Center increased the amount of renewable energy utilized on-site from 15.78 percent in 2016 to 31.75 percent in 2017, resulting in a 101.20 percent improvement. The Fort Worth Federal Center increased the percentage of renewable energy used at this site due to recent energy efficiency upgrades to the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and lighting systems. These upgrades significantly reduced the sites’ load and increased the amount of solar used for its energy needs.

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Highest Materials Managed

Drug Enforcement Administration, El Paso Intelligence Center, El Paso, Texas

2018 AwardThe Drug Enforcement Administration, El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC), recycled 17.84 tons of municipal solid waste, diverting 79.5 percent of its waste from landfills. EPIC has a robust recycling program, achieving a diversion rate of 79.5 percent by keeping 17.84 tons of toner cartridges, numerous batteries, wooden pallets, electronics, appliances, paper, plastics, and aluminum products from going to the Fort Bliss landfill. EPIC continues to promote and encourage recycling through its Environmental Stewardship Directive and by following the Fort Bliss Commanding General’s Standing Order for recycling.

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Innovation, Education and Outreach, and Leadership Narrative

Department of Veterans Affairs, Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center, Bonham, Texas

2018 AwardThe Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center approached recycling innovation with the use of personnel and resources that it already had on site. It incorporated a work therapy person to hold a lead position of making sure that paper goods were recycled throughout the facility. While helping work therapy personnel to get back in the workforce, they managed to recycle 7.9 tons of paper. This included cardboard, paperboard, white paper, box board, magazines and other types of paper products.

The Center has improved on Education and Outreach every year. This year they have incorporated education about the Green Environmental Management System (GEMS) into the New Employee Orientation. All employees receive News Bulletins and take training sessions. Education and outreach is also provided via Town Hall meetings, at which GEMS is consistently an agenda item.

The Center leadership’s is centered in healthcare and environmental improvements. The leadership updated and renewed the dementia area for the residents and created a healing garden area for beautification, relaxation, sensory stimulation and promoting physical activity. Raised bed gardens were constructed for all to be able to take part in the horticulture experience and to have fresh vegetables that could be used to make a salad. Everyone loved the idea, and they even received feedback on how great it is for the families to have a place to come and sit in a seating area of choice and talk with their loved ones while enjoying the outdoors. For this area, the Center does not use building supplied water; it harvests rainwater captured by rain barrels. The garden had a grand opening, with a butterfly release at the opening. Many veterans were present for the dedication. This was no simple task, but the Center has leadership that knows the importance of promoting healthcare improvements that have positive environmental outcomes.

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Purchasing

Department of Veterans Affairs, Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center, Bonham, Texas

2018 AwardThe Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center reduced its paper purchased by 6.85 percent, from 60,600 lbs. down to 56,450 lbs. They incorporated printers that are Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT)-registered, and all printers are set on double-sided printing to help reduce paper consumption. The Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center is growing, so reducing any level of items is a positive since it has grown to over 831 employees.

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Waste

General Services Administration, Bob Casey Courthouse, Houston, Texas

2018 AwardThe Bob Casey Courthouse increased its municipal solid waste composted from 0.70 tons in 2016 to 3.39 tons in 2017, resulting in a 455.7 percent improvement. The Courthouse works with its custodial contractor to ensure that all landscaping waste removed from site is composted and diverted from landfills.

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Water

General Services Administration, Pete Domenici Courthouse, Albuquerque, N.M.

2018 AwardThe Pete Domenici Courthouse reduced its use of potable water from 4,681,732 gallons in 2016 to 3,124,496 gallons in 2017, resulting in a 33 percent improvement. This reduction was possible with the implementation of purple pipe irrigation at this site. By utilizing a rain cistern, the Pete Domenici Courthouse is able to greatly reduce the amount of potable water needed for landscaping irrigation.

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