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Energy Management Program Service (EMPS)


VA Recognizes Employees Achievements in Sustainability

September 18, 2017

VA Sustainability Achievement Awards and VA Green Routine Awards have provided recognition to VA employees and facilities for significant contributions to environmental sustainability at VA since 2010.  These employees have gone above and beyond, with valuable and inspiring projects that reduce environmental impact, but also often help VA better serve its mission and operate efficiently.

Sustainability Achievement Awards recognize VA professionals in the fields of energy, environment, or fleet.  Green Routine Awards recognize VA employees contributing to sustainability efforts outside of their daily duties.

Sustainability Achievement Awards

Water Conservation
VA Connecticut Healthcare System–Newington Campus
Dan Smith

The Newington VA Campus has successfully reduced water usage by 3.6 million gallons in less than one year.  Using corrective actions, vendors were hired to replace and repair many aspects of the water system to dramatically reduce the water consumption at the facility.  This also reduced costs by reducing the amount of water heating and treatment.

Pollution Prevention
Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center
Nicholas Frain, Jeff Abshire, & Jeff Mason

The Indianapolis VAMC Research Service, Safety Service and Radiation Safety have combined to minimize the amount and type of hazardous materials used in the research laboratories.  The Research Chemical Hygiene Officer has properly disposed of many hazardous chemicals, while the Radiation Safety Officer is following standards for decommissioning many research labs that previously had radiation permits.

Green Purchasing
Office of Acquisition, Technology Acquisition Center (TAC)
Robert Kirzow, Brandi James, Elizabeth Dean, Donna Walcott, Timothy Pearson, Michael Brill, Cindy Poon, & Jay Nemeroff

The TAC Team issued an enterprise-level contract vehicle in 2013 for IT hardware that incorporates requirements for Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT)-registered electronics and enables VA to reduce energy costs, increase sustainability, and meet green purchasing requirements.  The 5-year contract has enabled VA to earn three consecutive EPEAT Purchaser Awards (2015, 2016, 2017) for excellence in procuring sustainable electronics.

James Van Zandt VA Medical Center
Charles Becker, Tim Blackburn, & Glenn Holsinger

Three individuals from James Van Zandt VA Medical Center have demonstrated exceptional leadership in sustainability.

Associate Director Charles Becker entered into a MOU with the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Central Office, enabling the Altoona Green Environmental Management Systems (GEMS) team to create and develop a national program for all VHA hospitals to submit applications for sustainability recognition through Practice GreenHealth Awards.  Combined with his leadership for the facility’s GEMS program, this resulted in evaluation and recognition for the facility, VISN, and VHA nationally, standing out among health care sector peers.

Tim Blackburn, GEMS Coordinator, was tasked as the National representative from the VHA to Practice GreenHealth.  Tim pushed for all facilities to commit to submitting quality applications for the 2017 Practice GreenHealth Sustainability Awards.  This resulted in recognition, but also reports of performance to allow the focus of resources on areas that need improvement.

Glenn Holsinger, GEMS Technician, volunteered in 2016 to mentor VISN 19 in submitting applications for the Practice GreenHealth Awards Program.  Glenn’s leadership helped the facilities improve from one previous submission to achieving recognition for all facilities and the region overall.

Sustainable Building
VA West Los Angeles North Campus
Ross Manoukian, Ed Amador, & Alan Silver

This project remodeled and renovated the VA West Los Angeles North Campus – VA Family Resource & Well Being Center.  The historical building was renovated using the latest state of the art energy savings technology such as LED lighting, dimmable light fixtures, water conserving faucets and toilets, and more.

Wilmington VA Medical Center
Shaikh A Tayeb & Michael Merrill

VA Medical Center-Wilmington established a facility-wide recycling baseline and achieves their targets for recycling improvement.  Cardboard, paper, plastic, tin, aluminum, cooking oil, used printer cartridges, scrap metals, waste medical solvents and e-waste are collected and recycled routinely as part of the pollution prevention and cost-saving effort.  The initiatives generate thousands of dollars of cost-savings and revenue.

Honorable Mention – Energy Star Certification
VA San Diego Medical Center
Jon Coger, Jeff Salas, & Allen Moff

VA San Diego Medical Center tracks annual energy data through EnergyStar Portfolio Manager, and received the EnergyStar Award in 2016 based on energy usage from July 2015 through June 2016.  San Diego VA is in the top 25% in the nation for energy efficiency and is now an EnergyStar certified building.

Honorable Mention – Solar PV System
Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center
James Zellander

Solar PV was installed at three separate sites at the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center, including a four-acre field of solar PV, three canopy structures with solar PV installed on top, and a roof mounted system.  The system provides approximately 70% of the energy needs for the Tuscaloosa VAMC.

Green Routine Awards

Recycling Outreach
C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center
Nora Jean Quinn, Shannon Williams, Christopher Lovett & Crystal Wilson

The group’s goal was to raise awareness and improve recycling at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center.  They conducted research on recycling availability and use, including surveys, and observation.  Outreach posters were displayed by recycling bins and the team hosted a booth at the facility Earth Day event to educate and engage employees, volunteers, visitors, and Veterans in recycling.

Waste Reduction
Tomah VA Medical Center
Jennifer Gibeaut & Dawn Handschy

Two nursing assistants undertook a project that would ultimately address infection control concerns, improve Veteran hydration, and reduce cost and waste.  They replaced disposable water pitchers with reusable ones, eliminated styrofoam cups by introducing reusable coffee mugs, and educated staff on what can be recycled in patient care neighborhoods.  After instituting this in the neighborhood in which they worked, they educated staff in other neighborhoods in order for this to be adopted across the entire campus.

Solar PV Oversight
Jackson VA Regional Office
Paul Banis

Paul Banis was the on-site coordinator for the installation of solar PV at the Jackson VA Regional Office (VARO), where 1,977 panels were installed on the parking garage.  He monitored progress and identified deficiencies during the construction phase.  During the installation of the solar panels, Mr. Banis served as the final approving authority prior to any work being performed.

Food Waste Reduction
Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center
Mike Baker, Mike Herrick, & Jason Borgwardt

Employees identified an opportunity to reduce food waste, and evaluated and improved upon the inventory and ordering process for bakery items and then made similar changes for dairy items.  The new ordering process has resulted in significant waste savings for dairy and bread, saving over $1,000 per month, while improving the food ordering process for Veteran patients.

Honorable Mention – Paper Waste Reduction
James E Van Zandt VA Medical Center
Joshua E. Hill, Beth Rhine, & Laura Olienyk

James Van Zandt VA Medical Center Pharmacy Services established a sustainability objective to reduce waste and costs.  They decided to reduce paper waste by replacing adhesive labels with non-adhesive labels, which can be printed on both sides.  After implementing the change, cost savings have reached nearly $7,000.

Honorable Mention – Paper Reduction
Hines VA Cooperative Studies Program Coordinating Center (CSPCC)
Mary Biondic, Kelly Tir, Helen Shi, Cheryl Odle, Elinore Zacny, & Gio Diaz

Hines VA employees changed their data center’s paper studies to paperless studies.  Previously, the process had been using data fax systems where data was written onto paper and the paper was physically faxed into an electronic data system.  With substantial efforts by the group, the new data system was set up, with data entered directly electronically without use of any paper.  In addition to cost-savings, this process increases efficiency of services.

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