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U.S. EPA honors federal agencies for water conservation, waste reduction

Release Date: 05/06/2014
Contact Information: David Yogi, yogi.david@epa.gov, 415-972-3350

Three agencies in Northern California, three in Southern California recognized

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today recognized six federal agency offices in California with its prestigious Federal Green Challenge (FGC) program award for reducing their operations’ environmental impacts.  EPA Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld presented the awards to the Northern California agencies at a ceremony hosted by the Federal Executive Board in San Francisco, Calif.

“Federal agencies participating in the Pacific Southwest program saved over $31.8 million by reducing waste, water, and energy use over the past two years,” said Regional Administrator Blumenfeld.  “During this same period, these agencies have conserved over 350 million gallons of water. In a time of drought, this level of federal leadership on water conservation is critical.”

FGC participants were judged on a variety of factors including overall environmental results and outcomes. As participants, agencies pledge to reduce their resource use by 5 percent or more per year in at least two of six target areas: waste, water, energy, transportation, electronics, and purchasing.

Federal leadership on water conservation is critical to address the impact of the California drought. The following are this year’s regional Federal Green Challenge winners:

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) (San Francisco, Calif.) – Water Conservation award: FDIC cut water use by 36% to conserve over 729 thousand gallons of water. FDIC installed an automated water meter and WaterSense Irrigation System to monitor and regulate water use, added aerators to faucets, and upgraded its hot water system with new boilers and heat exchangers to reduce water use.

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Southwest Lab (Vista, Calif.) – Water Conservation and Electronics awards:  DEA cut potable water use by 40% last year by promoting awareness of their FRC goal at staff meetings and by encouraging all employees to report leaks and conserve water. In addition, DEA prevented deionized water tank overflow, adjusted the ventilation and air conditioning system, and replaced suspect valves. DEA also increased certified electronics recycling by 58% over the previous year.

Naval Base Coronado (Coronado, Calif.) - Water Conservation award: The base reduced water use last year by 20% to conserve over 101 million gallons. Irrigation frequency was reduced to allow some lawn areas to go dormant, one-pint urinals were installed, the chemical treatment of cooling towers’ valves were adjusted to use less water, and galley water use was minimized.

U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Pacific Rim Region (San Francisco, Calif.) – Overall Achievement award:  GSA transitioned to use 100% postconsumer recycled copy paper and worked with EPA to lead other federal purchasers to shift to 100% recycled paper. As a result greenhouse gas emissions were cut by over 2,400 metric tons of carbon equivalent. GSA also reduced potable water use by 24% and electricity use by 30%.

U.S. Forest Service Region 5 (California) – Leadership award: The USFS Regional Leadership Team supported an innovative, web-based “Summit Mt. Whitney Green Challenge” to encourage employees to reduce energy and resource use. Over 300 employees participated, yielding a net impact of reduced 30,000 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (San Diego, Calif.) – Education & Outreach and Waste awards:  Air Station Miramar promoted their recycling program through the installation’s Teen and Child Care Centers during Earth Week. They also conducted two e-waste collection events and disseminated recycling information through email and marquee announcements to reach 75% of the base population.  Miramar increased recycling by 30% and reduced its solid waste disposal by more than 22%.

Over the past two years, Pacific Southwest Federal Green Challenge participants have:

- prevented over 93,000 tons of waste from reaching landfills, through composting and recycling, resulting in reduced greenhouse gas emissions by over 248,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (the equivalent of conserving over 11 million gallons of gasoline);

- purchased over 48 million sheets of 100% postconsumer recycled copy paper; and

- conserved over 9 million kWh of electricity and over 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

For more information on the FGC, visit: http://www.epa.gov/fgc/

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