VA Recognizes Employees Contributions in Sustainability
September 10, 2018
VA’s Energy Management Program Sustainability Awards have provided recognition to VA employees and facilities for significant contributions to environmental sustainability since 2010. These employees, from a wide range of positions, have gone above and beyond, with valuable and inspiring projects that reduce environmental impact while also often helping VA better serve its mission and operate efficiently. Awards are categorized as environmental, sustainable building, fleet, and energy.
VA Caribbean Healthcare System
Emmanuel Ramirez, Catherine Gonzalez, Jorge Aleman, Amado Sosa, Mario Rosario, Julio Martinelli, Ruben Reyes, Felix Vargas, & Francisco Martinez
The VA Caribbean Healthcare System Interior Design Team promotes waste minimization and evaluates alternatives for reducing costs and environmental impacts through repairs, recycling, and reuse and refurbishment of furniture, modules, and building materials. For example, during FY 2017, the team saved approximately $210,000 and reduced waste 22,198 pounds through reusing and refurbishing furniture.
Martinsburg VA Medical Center
Jeff Miller, Raymond Williams, Rob Moore, & Crystal Biddle
Martinsburg VA Medical Center has begun collecting cigarette butts in centralized locations, reducing hours of clean up and improving aesthetics, while also allowing the waste to be collected to send to a third-party recycler at no cost to VA. In six months, 120 pounds of waste was sent for recycling, where the tobacco and paper are composted and the butts are made into plastic items such as benches.
Manchester VA Medical Center
Nancy Romano, Osmar Santana, & Christine Davis
At the Manchester VAMC, the Nutrition and Food Service kitchen is using a food waste dehydrator to compost food scraps, preventing waste to the landfill and sewer. In a five-month period, the kitchen has composted 3,857 pounds of food waste. The compost created can also be used onsite as fertilizer for the patient-managed raised flower beds, recreational therapy greenhouse projects, and facility landscaping.
Honorable Mention: Rayburn VA Medical Center, Community Living Center
Phil Clark, Daniel Clark, Colby Edwards, & Compensated Work Therapy
Rayburn VA Medical Center’s Community Living Center created a healing garden area for beautification, relaxation, sensory stimulation and promoting physical activity for patients with dementia. Raised bed gardens were constructed for all to be able to take part in the horticulture experience and to have fresh vegetables to make salads. Rainwater harvesting was incorporated to reduce the water needed and the compensated work therapy program got the plants started, which are then maintained by patients.
VA Acquisition Academy, Facilities Management School (FMS)
VA’s Facilities Management School began and continues to support multiple programs that facilitate energy and sustainability progress, including Building Automation (Basic and Advanced), the International Facility Management Association suite of certificates and certifications, and paid attendance at their national workshops with specific focus on the Sustainability Facility Professional Certificate Program. To date, 33 VA staff members have earned the certificate. In addition, FMS provides access to over 2,400 related online courses and over 7,000 videos for continued training.
Lebanon VA Medical Center
Kimberlee Kreiser, Raymond Reibsane, Boyd Martin, & Kevin Smith
Lebanon VA Medical Center replaced several on-site shop trucks, mail vehicles, and vans with solar-powered electric vehicles. The vehicles have fully met the needs of the medical center and also provide the additional benefits of reducing fuel use and avoiding pollution from vehicle idling. The electric vehicles also handle short distances better than standard vehicles, reducing maintenance costs for vehicles on-campus.
Rayburn VA Medical Center
Andrew Garcia & Jason Sluder
During fiscal year 2017, Rayburn VA Medical Center increased its alternative fuel vehicles by 83.5 percent from 91 to 167 vehicles, and hybrid electric vehicles by 260 percent from 5 to 18 vehicles. This facility worked closely with the GSA Fleet Representative to procure appropriate vehicles and to keep its fleet updated with dependable, reliable, and sustainable vehicles. The Rayburn VA Medical Center also encouraged biking to work and on campus, logging an increase of bicycle miles traveled from 6 to 80 miles.
VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System
David Sanchez, Ross Manoukian, Eugene Humphries, & Ed Amador
VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System modernized antiquated laundry equipment by installing more advanced washing technology, including water recycling and cutting-edge system controls. The new washing system reduced water use for washing by nearly 70 percent, saving nearly 10 million gallons of water per year.
Eastern Kansas Healthcare System
Lights throughout Eastern Kansas Healthcare System’s hospitals in Leavenworth and Topeka were replaced with high-efficiency LED fixtures. New water-saving fixtures were also installed on toilets and sinks. The project has saved equivalent to about the energy use of 350 homes. Annual cost savings are calculated to be nearly $400,000, with the project paying for itself over 15 years.
Honorable Mention: C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center
Traci Kohl & Andrew Sayer
The C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center sought to improve the efficiency of their original lighting and steam systems, with a large opportunity for savings. Two major projects were implemented at the medical center, including 1) the substitution of roughly 12,000 bulbs with energy-saving LED lamps, and 2) the replacement of nearly 200 steam traps, which also included new pipe insulation and an innovative steam trap monitoring system. Taken together, the efforts implemented are expected to save hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
Honorable Mention: Palo Alto Health Care System
Steve Elliott, Elizabeth Exter, & Frank Quiles
VA Palo Alto Health Care System achieved huge energy savings working with the City of Palo Alto Utilities Commercial and Industrial Energy Efficiency Program. The facility replaced two large chillers with high efficiency options and optimized functioning, as well as replaced lighting with LEDs across the campus. The facility saved the equivalent of electricity for 475 homes for a year.