The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes the efforts of more than 400 federal facilities that took steps to reduce pollution, support renewable energy, and operate more efficiently in 2014 as part of the Federal Green Challenge (FGC), resulting in an estimated cost savings to U.S. taxpayers of more than $24 million. The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from participating facilities is equivalent to annual emissions from 190,000 passenger vehicles.

“The agencies who participate in EPA’s Federal Green Challenge are green leaders, reducing pollution, realizing significant cost savings, and making green improvements that will leave a healthier planet for future generations,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “The awards recognize the commitment from these federal agencies to being good neighbors and environmental leaders in their communities.”

A national effort under EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Program, the FGC allows federal offices or facilities to pledge participation in reducing the federal government’s environmental impact.

The FGC supports Executive Order 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade, which outlines aggressive new efficiency standards for Federal Agencies, as well as its earlier versions.

Within the target areas, challenge participants in FY14:
– diverted over 390,000 tons of Municipal Solid Waste and Construction & Demolition waste from landfills;
– saved nearly 80 million gallons of water;
– saved 107 million cubic feet of natural gas;
– reduced fleet distance traveled by 12.3 million miles;
– sent 450 tons of end of life electronics to third party certified recyclers;
– avoided purchasing 15,000 pounds of office paper; and
– saved U.S. taxpayers over $24 million.

Agencies strive for annual improvements in selected target areas (Waste, Electronics, Purchasing, Water, Energy and/or Transportation) and report their improvements to EPA, demonstrating the financial and environmental benefits of their actions. For the third year in a row, EPA is recognizing facilities for annual improvements.

The 2015 National Awardees are:
Improvement by Target Area – highest increased percentage over previous year
Waste: Southern Arizona VA Health Care System, Department of Veterans Affairs, Tucson, Ariz.
Electronics: Western Laboratory, Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Justice, San Francisco, Calif.
Purchasing: U.S. Courthouse, General Services Administration, Los Angeles, Calif.
Energy: Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, U.S. Marine Corps, Department of Defense, San Diego, Calif.
Water: Oregon Caves National Monument, National Park Service, Department of the Interior, Cave Junctions, Ore.
Transportation:
– National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Department of Energy, Golden, Colo.
– Minneapolis VA Healthcare System, Department of Veterans Affairs, Minneapolis, Minn.
– Capulin Volcano National Monument, National Park Service, Department of the Interior, Capulin, N.M.