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Federal Green Challenge

2020 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 innovation, electronics, education and outreach, waste, and water in the South Central region.

In Region 6, which serves Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and 66 Tribal Nations, the 2020 regional award winners are the Department of Veterans Affairs, Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center; General Services Administration, OKC Federal Building; General Services Administration, The Centre Phase 5; and General Services Administration A. Maceo Smith Federal Building. The award winners shared details about their diversion activities, and about their awards with EPA. Below are the stories they tell behind their accomplishments.

Innovation, Electronics, Transportation and Education and Outreach

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

Photo of Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center Fashion ShowThe Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center (Rayburn VA Medical Center), located in Bonham, Texas, has implemented several Innovative ideas that all facilities should consider following. The Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center has a rainwater harvesting process. They capture rain fall and use the captured rainfall to water the Veteran’s Zen garden. This garden was made by veterans for veterans. The Grounds maintenance crew consist of domiciliary veterans.  The Zen garden is used for the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Section of the hospital. It helps returning war veterans to relax. They have added several other rain garden areas throughout the facility. The facility is also now using more native plants; these plants require less water. Therefore, during the summer months, the grounds remain well kept and picturesque while still allowing water conservation.

The Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center has also begun to replace its outdated halogen light bulbs with the more energy efficient LED lighting throughout the entire facility. Along with LED lighting replacement, the addition of lighting timers in various areas of the facility are being added. The facility is striving to keep reducing its energy consumption by implementing more timer switches in the rest of the facility.  

The Rayburn VA Medical Center managed to educate nearly 100 percent of its staff about its Green Environmental Management System (GEMS) awareness program goals. They accomplished this by New Employee Orientation and offering different trainings and learning sessions to its staff throughout the year. The Director of the Rayburn VA Medical Center also engages with the community by conducting a yearly Town Hall meeting. GEMS information is then conveyed to the local community. 

The Rayburn VA Medical Center was able to reach 100 percent of the nursing population and 100 percent of the pharmacy service with the training for the medication disposal process. They incorporated more nonhazardous and pharmaceutical waste bins throughout the its facility. It allowed medical waste to avoid being put into the landfill or flushing down the drains. This has a great environmental impact on landfill waste and keeping the public water systems and groundwater supply safe for the community. 

The Rayburn VA Medical Center also used fun activities to spread GEMS awareness. For Earth Day, they combined a recycling Fashion Show, recycling art contest and a Greenhouse plant sale. The recycling art contest helped them realize to use old containers as a battery recycling container. It also brought several services together to meet and agree on a proper way in which it would benefit everyone that had a hand in the process. 

The Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center increased its EPEAT registered equipment from 456 units in 2018 to 559 units in 2019, resulting in a 22.6 percent improvement. 

Additionally, the Rayburn VA Medical Center reduced its commuting trips driven alone in a single occupant vehicle from 81 trips alone in 2018 to 75 trips alone in 2019, resulting in a 7.41 percent improvement.

Waste

 General Services Administration, A. Maceo Smith Federal Building, Dallas, Texas

The General Services Administration A. Maceo Smith Federal Building increased its landscape composting from 0.11 tons in 2018 to 0.42 tons in 2019, resulting in a 281.8 percent improvement.  

Water

General Services Administration, OKC Federal Building, Oklahoma City, Okla.

The General Services Administration Oklahoma City Post Office and Courthouse Federal Building, located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, reduced its potable water consumption from 3,086,000 gallons in 2018 to 2,191,725 gallons in 2019, resulting in a 28.98 percent improvement. The Post Office and Courthouse was able to achieve this reduction by applying daily irrigation checks and monitoring weather for irrigation purposes.

General Services Administration, The Centre Phase 5, Branch, Texas

The General Services Administration Centre Phase 5 Federal Building reduced its potable water consumption from 5,174,000 gallons in 2018 to 3,740,000 gallons in 2019, resulting in a 27.72 percent improvement. The Federal building was able to achieve this reduction by using an advanced water controller and by making additional irrigation improvements to help address erosion concerns.

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