In 2009, President Obama challenged the Federal Government to lead by example by becoming leaner, greener and more efficient. He asked agencies and departments to become more energy efficient, reduce waste and water use, and use its purchasing power as the largest energy consumer in the U.S. economy to support more environmentally responsible products and technologies in their operations.
The GreenGov Presidential Awards celebrate extraordinary achievement in the pursuit of President Obama's challenge. Given in six different categories, the awards honor Federal civilian and military personnel, agency teams, agency projects and facilities, and agency programs that exemplify President Obama's charge to lead by example toward a clean energy economy.
Meet this year’s winners and learn about the award they are receiving below.
Good Neighbor Award: This award recognizes a Federal agency team or facility for its exemplary engagement with local or regional communities to promote one or more of the goals of Executive Order 13514, the President’s challenge to Federal agencies to become leaner, greener, and cleaner.
Grand Canyon Green Team, Department of the Interior
The Good Neighbor Award is being given to the Grand Canyon Green Team in recognition of their success in helping neighboring rural communities to responsibly dispose of electronic and hazardous waste in the Grand Canyon National Park and surrounding areas. This effort was the result of collaboration between Grand Canyon National Park, the Grand Canyon Railway, Xanterra South Rim, Williams Clean and Beautiful Committee, the City of Williams, the City of Flagstaff, and the Coconino County Supervisor.
The Grand Canyon Green Team was able to give residents and businesses in rural communities the opportunity to act responsibly by reducing hazardous and electronic waste, extending cooperative conservation beyond park boundaries. The partnership helped divert over 56 tons of waste from local community landfills, including 214 large appliances, 34,617 pounds of electronics, and 600 tires. Additionally, the Green Team created a model for other Federal facilities that are located away from densely populated areas where conventional recycling efforts are not feasible.
Building the Future Award: This award recognizes the Federal civilian or military facility or installation that demonstrates success in implementing the policy and performance goals of the President’s Executive Order on Sustainability.
Naval Base San Diego, Department of Defense
A 2011 Building the Future Award goes to the Naval Base San Diego Team for its innovative “Global Force for Green” project. The base incorporated new ideas and equipment in its operations to reduce waste and pollutants across its facility. For example, to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency, the base installed solar electricity and water systems on buildings and replaced more than a thousand parking lot and street lights with LED fixtures. Low-flow shower heads and irrigation controllers help reduce water use, and periodic hazardous waste turn-in events help manage hazardous materials that otherwise might go to the landfill. Naval Base San Diego now saves $834,000 annually thanks to its energy, water and renewable energy projects.
Office of Facilities Management, Department of State
The U.S. Department of State Office of Facilities Management Services is a winner of the Building the Future Award for their renovation of Building 84, an 8,000 square foot building at the Charleston, South Carolina Regional Center.
The building employs an innovative combination of solar, geothermal, wind and rainwater collection strategies to heat, cool and power the facility, which is on track to be a net-zero energy consumer, meaning that it produces as much energy as it consumes. It is meeting all Federal guidelines for sustainability, and even exceeding goals for reducing water consumption, all at a significantly reduced cost compared to similar projects that use traditional energy systems.
Green Dream Team Award: This award recognizes outstanding collaboration and teamwork that successfully puts an exceptional Federal sustainability idea into action.
Federal Green Challenge, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 10
EPA Region 10’s Federal Green Challenge Team is the 2011 winner of the Green Team Award based on their remarkable success in building a collaborative interagency program that supports regional Federal sustainability achievement.
The EPA Region 10 (located in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska) Federal Green Challenge Team created a collaborative, interagency support program to help 52 Federal agencies at more than 90 locations meet sustainability goals and targets. The team is part of the Federal Green Challenge, which helps regions across the country reduce their environmental footprint using competition, metrics, and a “bottom up” approach that encourages partners at local and regional partners to share best practices that complement agency-wide goals.
Last year, partners in regions across the country reduced their combined carbon footprint by more than 172,000 MTCO2e (the equivalent of the CO2 emitted by 33,000 passenger vehicles in one year, or of consuming 400,000 barrels of oil) resulting in over $1 million in avoided cost. In a testament to its effectiveness, after two years of success at the regional level, EPA recently launched the Federal Green Challenge as a national level program.
Green Innovation Award. This award recognizes an innovation or idea with the potential to transform the Federal community’s overall energy and environmental performance.
National Renewable Energy Lab, Department of Energy
The Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab is the winner of this year’s Green Innovation Award. The lab designed a net-zero energy data center that creates as much energy as it consumes by using the climate as a natural coolant, capturing waste heat to ventilate in the cooler months, and employing advanced equipment to minimize energy usage.
The data center consumes 81 percent less energy than its predecessor. It is expected to save $200,000 annually in electricity costs and reduce carbon emissions by nearly 5,000,000 pounds per year.
Lean, Clean and Green Award. This award recognizes outstanding organizational achievement in building or fleet energy efficiency or renewable energy development and deployment.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA is a model of sustainability for the Federal community and is a winner of the Lean Clean and Green Award. It continues to move consistently toward sustainable and efficient operations by setting exemplary goals in agency-wide energy and water efficiency, reduced emissions and greater renewable energy usage. In addition, NASA is committed to reducing waste and increasing efficiency at its facilities, management centers, and development projects around the country, and has led the way in sustainability in government by expanding its portfolio of LEED certified facilities.
Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans Affairs, a winner of this year’s Lean, Clean, and Green Award, has said that it has a responsibility to minimize environmental and energy-related impacts while caring for our nation’s veterans. The VA demonstrates continued Federal leadership through its ongoing programs, policies and actions that focus on energy and water efficiency, pollution prevention, innovative fleet management, and high performance buildings in healthcare and other facilities. Their efforts succeed by harnessing the participation of employees at all levels, promoting and recognizing green practices in daily activities and decisions.
Sustainability Hero Award: This award recognizes a Federal employee who is a sustainability champion and agent of change within his or her agency.
Shannon Cunniff, Department of Defense
As the Department of Defense's Director of the Chemical and Material Risk Management Office, Shannon Cunniff has spearheaded DoD efforts to address management of emerging contaminants with the ultimate goal of eliminating chemical and material hazards from DoD. Cunniff’s leadership and commitment to sustainability is visible throughout the Department thanks to the plans, teams, and policies she has helped to create, making her this year’s Sustainability Hero.