Green Awards and Recognition
Submissions Due by March 4, 2013:
2012 Sustainability Achievement Award Winners
The Green Management Program is pleased to announce 2012 Sustainability Achievement Award winners in five categories. VA’s Sustainability Achievement Awards recognize innovative, cost-effective efforts at facilities around the country to improve sustainability performance in several categories, including energy efficiency, green purchasing, environmental management systems, sustainable design, electronic stewardship, alternative fuel/fuel conservation in transportation, water conservation, waste minimization/pollution prevention, recycling and renewable energy. See details of the Award criteria, and also learn about past winners.
Energy Improvements for an Older, Historic VA Medical Center
The Cheyenne VA Medical Center has made extensive improvements to reduce energy use at the historic facility, constructed in 1934. All work observed historic preservation requirements so that the facility can remain a historic asset to the community. Energy improvements in the past year include lighting replacement, installation of three high-efficiency boilers, a new chiller, and insulation. In addition, the Medical Center has installed a solar photovoltaic array to produce onsite energy. The facility provides access to the array to the neighboring East High School instructors to teach students about renewable energy. The Medical Center was audited in 2011 and received three Green Globes, demonstrating the facility’s leadership and commitment to environmental and energy stewardship.
Substitution of Coal Fly Ash for Cement in Preplaced Concrete Burial Vaults for National Cemeteries
Washington, DC (nationwide)
The National Cemetery Administration (NCA) has begun substituting coal fly ash for cement in preplaced concrete burial vaults, resulting in energy and waste savings. NCA updated their concrete vault specifications to follow the Environmental Protection Agency Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines minimum requirements for substituting coal fly ash for cement. NCA worked with vault manufacturers to implement this new specification and found that coal fly ash is a cheaper material than cement. In fiscal year 2011, ten NCA sites used the new specification, substituting a total of 3,518 tons of cement with coal fly ash. This substitution resulted in an overall reduction of 892 tons of carbon dioxide emissions-the equivalent of removing 171 cars from the roads for one year.
Preplaced Burial Vault Program
Washington, DC (nationwide)
The National Cemetery Administration (NCA) recently improved methods, materials, and equipment to preplace concrete burial vaults at new and existing state and Federal Veterans cemeteries. Previously, NCA excavated and placed the vaults in the gravesite just prior to burial. By preplacing the vaults, NCA decreased land requirements and gravesite construction costs by 50% due to land not purchased and sod and irrigation systems not installed. This program also reduces annual maintenance costs by $34,000 per acre due to reduced mowing, irrigation, pesticide/fertilizer applications, and correcting soil settlement. Approximately 600,000 preplaced vaults have been installed since fiscal year 2000, saving 800 acres of land, $24 million in land purchases, and $136 million in maintenance costs.
Storm Water Management at Martinsburg VA Medical Center
Martinsburg VA Medical Center has renovated its storm water control system to develop a wetland eco-system that doubles as the Veterans Nature Viewing Area. The facility’s Storm Water Management Plan, designed to reduce the discharge of surface pollutants as required in the Clean Water Act, includes bio-retention cells, rain gardens, porous pavement, cisterns, green roofs, tree planting and urban forestry, and turf that reduces the use of fertilizers and maximizes filtration. The Medical Center partners with the West Virginia Department of Forestry and other organizations to host planting workshops, improve vegetation selection, and care for injured wildlife. To date, more than 20 million gallons of storm water have been kept from the Opequon Creek watershed—and neighbors no longer experience serious flash flooding.
Waste Minimization/Pollution Prevention
Construction Waste Management Program: Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital
The Facility Management Service team at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital recently revised its contract language for construction projects to dramatically improve its construction waste management program. After reviewing over 168 hospital construction projects, the team realized there was no way to verify whether contractors were meeting the requirement to recycle construction waste. The team changed the contract language to require contractors to report, prior to payment, the type and quantity of waste and the landfill or materials processing facility used. This program led to a total of 17,382,035 pounds of waste diverted from the landfill in 2011 and significantly contributed to the facility’s total waste diversion rate of 84.9%.
Honorable Mention — Energy Efficiency
VA’s First Utility Energy Service Contract
VISN 21 Sierra Pacific Network
The VA Sierra Pacific Network, Veterans Integrated Service Network 21, with the support of the National Energy Business Center, awarded VA’s first Utility Energy Service Contract (UESC) to Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) in September 2011. The UESC allows VA to upgrade energy and water consuming equipment at five medical facilities with no upfront capital costs. The contract will be paid for using the savings resulting from the upgrades. The UESC achieves a lower interest rate and a faster procurement process compared to other energy savings contracts. The total value of the contract is $9,752,000 and will result in $1,000,000 in savings per year, with a payback of less than 10 years.
Honorable Mention — Waste Minimization/Pollution Prevention
Sustainable Snow and Ice Control
St. Cloud, MN
The St. Cloud VA Healthcare System is using a new snow and ice control method to reduce salt waste and protect the local water resources. The campus is bordered on three sides by the Sauk River, which is listed as an impaired waterway. Traditional salting methods allow the salt to blow away and pollute local waters with chloride, which can negatively impact water ecology and soil stability. The new treatment method uses brine to pre-wet salt and pre-treat road surfaces, which allows salt to cling to the surface rather than bouncing or blowing away. Facilities Management expects this new method will result in a 50% reduction in salt use while protecting the environment and keeping surfaces safe for staff, patients, and visitors.