SAN FRANCISCO - Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized five federal agencies—Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, Department of Labor, and the Presidio Trust—for improving efficiency, saving resources and reducing costs at their Bay Area federal facilities 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 Scott Pruitt said. “Their efforts resulted in an estimated cost savings of $17 million across the federal government.”
FGC is a yearlong commitment in which participants focus on efficiently managing their resources to protect the environment and reduce the costs of building operations, maintenance, and supplies.
In 2016, FGC participants across the country decreased fuel oil consumption by more than 500,000 gallons, sent 310 tons of end-of-life electronics to third-party certified recyclers, saved 9.2 million gallons of industrial water, and diverted more than 336,000 tons of waste from landfills.
EPA is recognizing the following Bay Area participants for improving the efficiency of their federal facilities in 2016:
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Northern California Health Care System (Martinez)
The Northern California Health Care System (NCHCS) prioritized energy and water conservation in 2016. After performing energy and water audits, NCHCS generated more than 550,000 kW-hours of energy from their solar power system, installed a water management system to save more than one million gallons of water, replaced 5,000 fluorescent light fixtures with LEDs, replaced two inefficient water-cooled chillers with high-efficiency chillers, and drove alternative fuel, electric and hybrid vehicles.
“Due to all of our efforts to address energy usage, the Martinez site has reduced its annual electrical usage by 37 percent, as compared to FY2010,” said Hadi Janbakhshzadeh, Energy Manager at the Department of Veterans Affairs. “This has been an astounding achievement. It is due to making our systems more energy efficient, ensuring that our new buildings meet LEED energy standards, and also by our employees’ dedication to having a more sustainable work environment.”
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Region 5 (Vallejo)
Forest Service Region 5, which covers the national forests in California, focused on reducing their mobile fleet emissions. They shared eco-driving tips, provided bicycle parking, calculated and posted the average fuel efficiency of their on-road fleet, and launched a centralized fleet inventory system covering 18 national forests. In addition, they purchased alternative fuel, zero emission and hybrid vehicles, and then strategically placed the vehicles to maximize their use.
“The Region has greatly benefitted from the partnership and opportunities for cross-pollination provided through the Federal Green Challenge. Being part of this network of sustainability champions increases our accountability and drives us to think strategically about how to achieve triple-bottom-line benefits,” said Lara Buluc, Sustainable Operations and Climate Change Coordinator for the Forest Service Region 5. “In an agency where 38 percent of our emissions stem from mobile fleet operations, we are committed to increasing the efficiency of our fleet vehicles and, as such, reducing our overhead operating costs.”
U.S. Department of Energy, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore)
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has reduced paper usage by almost half since 2009, saving more than $85,000 a year. LLNL has also cut purchases of inks and toners, resulting in savings of over $500,000 a year. Steps that led to those savings included reviewing and referencing procedures in online format only, submitting reports via email, and printing most documents only upon request.
“We really appreciate and value EPA Region 9 for acknowledging our efforts in this area,” said Jennifer Doman, Sustainability Performance Program Manager for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. “This award helps raise visibility within the Laboratory and in our community about the importance of sustainable purchasing.”
U.S. Department of Labor, San Francisco Federal Building (San Francisco)
The Department of Labor and other San Francisco Federal Building tenants increased recycling and composting by 135 percent from 2015 to 2016. The tenants’ efforts were helped by San Francisco’s Zero Waste Program, which supports comprehensive recycling and composting of organics, including food and food-soiled paper.
“The Department of Labor is thrilled to accept this award as lead tenant on behalf of all federal tenants in the San Francisco Federal Building,” said Janie Thomas, Regional Administrator for DOL’s San Francisco/Seattle Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management. “We recognize the vital importance of environmental stewardship and are excited that the collective work of our colleagues led to this success.”
The Presidio Trust (San Francisco)
The Presidio Trust focused on sustainability during multiple large-scale outdoor picnic events that drew nearly 8,000 visitors. They provided on-site recycling, composting, and alternative transportation outreach to attendees, required vendors to use recyclable and compostable food serviceware, and banned the sale of disposable plastic water bottles. The Presidio Trust’s efforts regularly kept more than 80 percent of event waste out of landfills.
“The Presidio Trust strives to be a model environmental steward of our park and our planet, and that includes helping our visitors and partners generate as little waste as possible,” said Jean Fraser, CEO of the Presidio Trust. “There is so much companies and organizations can do at pretty low cost to reduce the damage we cause to the environment. We are so proud that the EPA has recognized our 2016 Zero Waste Presidio Picnic program as a model practice."
For more information on the Federal Green Challenge and this year’s winners, please visit www.epa.gov/fgc
For more information about Sustainable Materials Management, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/smm