July 15, 2013

Federal Agencies Awarded for Reducing Environmental Footprint in New England

Boston, Mass – Six federal agencies received recognition from EPA for their leadership in reducing their environmental footprints at their operations in five New England states

The Vermont Air National Guard in Burlington won a national 2013 Federal Green Challenge Award in the energy category, while five other New England organizations were recognized with regional awards.

Federal Green Challenge Awards are given out each year by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The regional winners included federal agencies in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Organizations that won awards were recognized at ceremonies today in Boston for their outstanding efforts in 2012 to advance sustainability efforts and for their leadership in reducing the environmental footprint of federal government activities.

In 2012, nearly 300 participating agencies, representing more than 500,000 federal employees, “walked the talk” in various target areas, including waste, electronics, purchasing, water, energy or transportation and reduced their environmental footprint, which in many cases also resulted in significant cost savings.

Federal agencies are recognized for efforts that go beyond regulatory compliance and strive for annual improvements of five percent or more in these target areas. 

The following agencies were recognized today:

The Vermont Air National Guard, which won the national award, installed a 1.4-megawatt solar energy project consisting of 5,700 individual 230 watt solar panels in two separate systems covering eight acres. This project is meeting 34 percent of the Guard’s electricity needs while saving an estimated $250,000 a year in energy costs. The installation is reportedly the largest of its kind in Vermont.

The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, was given a regional award in the leadership category. According to EPA, since the 1990s, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard has been an environmental leader in the region, acting as an early EPA partner on pollution prevention and mercury reduction efforts. In the past year, the Shipyard has undertaken projects that promote energy efficiency, waste diversion, LEED buildings, and established a public transportation bus route for employees, which saves 11,500 gallons of fuel per year.

The Veterans Health Administration, Manchester Medical Center in Manchester, NH, won a regional award in the innovation category. Manchester Medical Center conducted a green cleaning program that converted from a conventional “loop end” mopping practice to a microfiber cleaning method that resulted in the reduction of 350,035 gallons of water; 1,367 gallons of cleaning product; and a cost savings of $99,654. The new cleaning method captured more dirt, reduced cross contamination in patient care areas, reduced the physical burden of cleaning, and decreased mopping time by 28 percent.

The US Postal Service’s Connecticut Valley District in Hartford, Conn, won a regional award in the waste reduction category. The USPS Connecticut Valley District consolidated recycling streams from all of its offices into six major recycling hubs, achieving a recycling rate of 80 percent. This recycling rate is one of the highest rates of any postal district in the country. The effort generated more than $596,093 in recycling revenue and avoided $793,527 in landfill disposal costs in FY12.

Hanscom Air Force Base in Hanscom, Mass., won a regional award in the energy efficiency category. The Hanscom Air Force Base reduced fuel use by 47 percent, more than 550,000 gallons, through a number of efficiency projects. A dual-fueled central heat plant shifted some of the fuel usage from oil to cleaner burning natural gas. Energy efficiency was also enhanced by insulating boiler steam and condensate lines and upgrading boilers to reuse waste heat.

The 104th Fighter Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard in Westfield won a regional award in the water conservation category. The 104th Fighter Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard reduced its water consumption by 40 percent. The water conservation project used methods such as motion sensor sink faucets in three newly constructed and remodeled buildings. Most significantly, the installation of rain sensors and efficient sprinkler heads reduced the water used to irrigate lawns by almost half.

Nationally, the winners of Federal Green Challenge awards diverted a total of 360,000 tons of waste from landfills; saved 52.7 million kilowatt-hours of electricity; saved 488,000 gallons of fuel oil; reduced potable water use by 133 million gallons; reduced fleet distance traveled by 128,280 miles, and sent 1,200 tons of electronics to be recycled. All if their combined efforts saved US taxpayers more than $31 million.

More information on Federal Green Challenge (

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