FACT SHEET: White House Announces 2016 GreenGov Presidential Awards, New Steps to Advance Federal Sustainability
Since taking office, President Obama has taken unprecedented steps to address climate change and protect our planet for future generations. Building on the President’s historic action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build a clean energy economy, the Administration has sought to lead by example, investing in Federal sustainability to improve environmental, energy and economic performance across the Federal government. With 343,000 buildings, 630,000 fleet vehicles, and $438 billion in annual purchasing power, the government has taken significant steps to operate more efficiently across the board.
Today, in recognition of the progress our Federal agencies have made, the White House announced the winners of the 2016 GreenGov Presidential Awards, honoring those who have gone above and beyond to implement innovative sustainability projects within the government. Senior Administration officials will recognize the 12 individuals and team winners today in a ceremony at the White House.
The Administration also announced today new steps to advance sustainability in federal purchasing with the release of the General Services Administration’s new “Green ✓” tool to help agencies make informed decisions about products and services that save money, increase sustainability and meet green purchasing requirements. Additionally, this week, Federal agencies will release their annual Federal Agency Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans, outlining how they are working to meet sustainability goals such as achieving a 40% reduction in Federal greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.
Winners of 2016 GreenGov Presidential Awards
The GreenGov Presidential Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in the pursuit of President Obama’s Federal sustainability goals. They recognize Federal civilian and military personnel, agency teams, agency projects, facilities, and programs. These awardees have contributed to the Nation’s prosperity, promoted energy security, protected the interests of taxpayers, and combated climate change to safeguard the health of our environment.
- Climate Champion Award: Dr. Richard Bennett, Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceFollowing the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Dr. Richard Bennett led the Department of the Interior team charged with helping the region recover, overseeing 167 million dollars in project funding to revitalize the Northeast, and to protect it from future storms and sea level rise. Dr. Bennett worked to launch more than 100 sustainability-focused projects, and led a team that developed performance metrics for climate resilience that are changing the way the Federal government prepares for severe weather events.
- Sustainability Heroes Award: Dr. Rosalind A. Grymes, National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationFor nearly a decade, Dr. Rosalind Grymes has been working to enhance NASA’s sustainability portfolio with a focus on optimizing the use of water, energy and other resources. She has held numerous leadership roles in the pursuit of a more sustainable NASA, including as the Executive Director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, and as the Founding Director of the Advanced Studies Laboratories.
- Green Innovation Award: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers & Department of Defense The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Defense have created a software tool that is revolutionizing sustainability planning for their agencies. The tool helps evaluate the sustainability and energy needs of an installation, and then generates a list of energy projects perfectly suited to meet the organization’s goal. The software tool has been successfully leveraged by other agencies across the country to transform federal sustainability planning and implementation.
- Lean, Clean, and Green Award: Department of Veterans Affairs Under the leadership of Timothy Morris, the Calverton National Cemetery has implemented energy saving measures and revolutionized its sustainability efforts, including the incorporation of the first ever installation of solar power at a national cemetery. From the use of automatic lighting sensors to programmable thermostats and timers, the Calverton National Cemetery has made sustainability a core part of its daily mission, becoming an energy efficiency model for cemeteries across the country.
- Green Dream Team Award: Environmental Protection Agency / General Services AdministrationAn employee-led team at EPA established the first compost collection program at EPA’s Washington, DC headquarters. The team coordinated with custodial staff, repurposed existing collection bins, and developed low cost communication tools to educate 4,500 employees about the program. GSA partnered with EPA in this effort, and is now working to expand compost services to over 50 Federal buildings in the National Capital region.
- Good Neighbor Award: Environmental Protection AgencyIn the years following the foreclosure crisis, the number of vacant homes across the country grew by 44% from 2000 to 2010. To guard against the significant environmental impact from demolishing these homes, EPA created a toolkit that’s changing the way communities deal with demolitions across the country. The toolkit helps municipalities make sound environmental decisions during the demolition process, reducing pollution, among other benefits.
- Building the Future Award: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers & Department of Defense The Army Corps of Engineers and Department of Defense have constructed the first LEED Platinum certified, net-zero energy aviation hangar at Fort Carson, Colorado. This innovative building includes high efficiency lighting and solar panels that supply half its power needs, and is a major step in support of Fort Carson’s goal to become a Net Zero Energy facility by 2020.
- Greening the Fleet Award: Timothy Currie, National Aeronautics and Space Administration As NASA’s Fleet and Transportation Manager, Timothy Currie has helped transform NASA’s fleet of over 3,000 vehicles nationwide. In just two years, NASA has replaced almost two-thirds of its fleet with vehicles that run on cleaner fuels, including biofuels, compressed natural gas, and electricity. This transition contributed to NASA achieving a 62% reduction in petroleum use since 2005.
- Purchasing Power Award: National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationNASA’s White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico has developed a software tool that seamlessly integrates management and oversight of green purchasing. The tool provides a list of green products available for order, captures data on purchases, and tracks compliance with sustainability requirements. With real-time data, NASA’s Sustainability Program team members can now track performance on green purchasing goals from their desktops.
- Keeping It Clean Award: Department of EnergyFaced with the need to treat groundwater at a former nuclear weapons production facility, the Department of Energy’s Office of Legacy Management developed an innovative groundwater treatment system. Installed at Rocky Flats, Colorado, the system runs on battery power and recharges with solar power. This design enhances safety, improves groundwater treatment reliability, reduces long-term maintenance and costs, and reduces waste.
- Resilience Role Model Award: Environmental Protection Agency / Department of Homeland Security-FEMASoon after Hurricane Sandy, a group of Federal, State, and local government leaders formed the Long Island Smart Growth Resiliency Partnership, focused on implementing recovery efforts that would be environmentally sustainable, and make the region more resilient to climate-related threats in the future. The partnership has held numerous events to educate and train the public, and is currently developing a joint EPA-FEMA guidance document for use by other impacted communities throughout the nation.
- The Ripple Effect Award: Department of Health and Human ServicesIn response to employee interest in electric vehicle (EV) charging, the Department of Health and Human Services launched an initiative to support EV commuting, and to install charging infrastructure across its agencies. The National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration have developed innovative plans to make commuting by EV easier, including dedicated parking spaces and use of the conference room scheduling system to reserve charging stations.
To find out more about the GreenGov program visit: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/greengov.
Federal Agency Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans
This week, the Administration is also releasing the Federal Agency Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans. In these strategic plans, Federal agencies detail how they are working to meet the President’s goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions, increase use of renewable energy, reduce energy and water used in Federal buildings, improve efficiency of Federal fleet vehicles, and enhance climate resilience.
Below are some examples of how Federal Agencies are leading by example:
- Saving Energy and Saving Money for Veteran Care: When compared to hospitals nationwide, Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals are a top energy performer. VA hospitals are approximately 35% more efficient than the average U.S. hospital, allowing more resources to be directed to the care of Veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs has reduced energy intensity by 23.2% compared to a 2003 baseline
- Reducing Water Use at the World’s Largest Museum and Research Complex: The Smithsonian Institution has reduced water use at its museums and the National Zoo by 54.5% since 2007, exceeding the Federal 26% reduction goal for FY 2020. The Smithsonian accomplished this achievement by using sub meters and leak detectors to discover water waste, and by focusing on water efficient landscapes for iconic public buildings on the National Mall and at the National Zoo
- Navy Achieves 1 GW in Renewable Energy: In the 2012 State of the Union address, President Obama announced that the Department of the Navy would seek to produce or procure 1 gigawatt (GW) of renewable energy by 2020. The Navy not only met that goal, but they did it by the end of 2015, five years ahead of schedule. One recent project represents the largest renewable energy procurement in Federal government history - a solar project that will bring 210MW of renewable power to 14 Navy bases in California. Over the life of the 25-year contract, the Navy will save more than $90 million, while enhancing energy security and resiliency
Obama Administration’s Record on Federal Sustainability
Since taking office, President Obama has taken unprecedented steps to lead by example in the Federal government, investing in innovative and cost effective initiatives to reduce carbon pollution. In March 2015, President Obama set aggressive targets for the government to cut Federal greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by the year 2025, from a 2008 baseline. To date, the Federal government has met the challenge by achieving the following:
- The Federal Government has reduced its annual greenhouse gas emissions 17.6 percent since 2008, and avoided the emission of over 41 million metric tons of GHGs, equivalent to taking 8.7 million cars off the road for one year.
- Federal agencies have cut energy use at Federal facilities by 15.4 percent since 2008. In 2015 alone, the government consumed almost 38 trillion British Thermal Units less than 2008, saving $680 million in energy costs.
- The amount of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from Federal government business air travel in 2015 was 35 percent less compared to 2008. That is comparable to 4.8 million flights across the U.S.
- Over the past 8 years, the Federal government has saved almost 140 billion gallons of drinkable water, comparable to the amount of water used by almost 1 million households over the course of a year.
Clean Energy Use:
- The Federal government has nearly doubled the amount of clean energy used in facilities since 2008, totaling over 6% of facility energy use.
Vehicle and Equipment Energy Use
- The Federal government reduced spending on gasoline/diesel by more than $963 million in 2015 compared to 2008.
- The government has tripled its consumption of alternative fuels since 2005, to 15.1 million gallons, surpassing the Administration’s fleet alternative fuel consumption goal by 50 percent. These fuels are produced in the U.S., decreasing our dependence on foreign oil and enhancing our energy security.
- The number of electric vehicles in the Federal fleet have increased over 50-fold, from 83 vehicles in 2008, to 4,337 in 2015. The number of hybrid electric vehicles in the Federal fleet increased 1,194% between 2008 and 2015, from 1,766 to 22,863 vehicles.