2020 Sustainability Awards - Energy, Environment, & Fleet (EEF) Program Service
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Energy, Environment, & Fleet (EEF) Program Service


2020 Sustainability Awards

June 18, 2020

VA’s Energy Management Program Sustainability Awards have provided recognition to VA medical centers and employees for their significant contributions to environmental sustainability since 2010. These facilities and 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 energy management, environmental, sustainable building, and fleet.

Energy Award Winners

Fargo VAMC (Reducing Water Usage in Dialysis)
Cray Eppler, Dialysis RN, Crystal Nemer, Dialysis Nurse Manager, Jamie Zettel, GEMS Program Manager, Randy Peterson, Biomed Supervisor, Dale DeKrey, Associate Director for Operations & Resources

This project is remarkably unique because it was driven by one dedicated employee’s mission for excellence and supported by a team. The project is innovative because the “standard operations” that were set by the company were optimized to provide a top-quality water system that could also reduce water usage and save money during the unit’s non-operational hours. This project saved approximately 274,560 gallons per year.

Milwaukee VAMC (Milwaukee Energy Reduction)
Matthew G. Hively, GEMS Environmental Engineer; Emily Passage, Research Program Support Assistant

Reduced energy by eliminating 22% underutilized research refrigerators and freezers by conducting the electronic audit. The project saved 60 MWh of electricity and $5,175 dollars per year. This project was shared within medical center news and added to the Practice Green health award application as a success story.

Sepulveda VAMC (Solar Project 150 kW)
Ross Manoukian, VA Energy Manager; Frank Schmidt, VA Facility Manager; Ed Amador, Acting Chief Engineer; Heidi Miller, VA PCAC Contacting Specialist; Sean Kaminski, VA PCAC Contracting Officer

PV system generates approximately 258,700 KWH renewable energy per year and saves water and sewer costs in arid region (approx. 100,000 gallons). Also, this project saves lawn maintenance costs because the solar project is ground mounted. These panels were reused from West LA which is an efficient use of VA assets.

Honorable Mention: Rocky Mountain VAMC (De-commissioning)
Ray Marsh, Environmental Engineer; Shawn Froom, Pathology and Lab Coordinator; Amanda Martinez, Chief of EMS; Steve Irpino, Chief of Logistics; and GEMS Committee of the Eastern Colorado Health Care System (ECHCS)

Benefits of this project include recycling and phased shutdowns of utilities that saved water and gas. The goal was to protect public health and commissioning of the defunct hospital which is required by law. This project diverted metal and other recycling material from going to the local landfill site.

Environmental Award Winners

Wilmington VAMC (Environmental Management through pollution prevention, recycling, green purchasing, electronic stewardship and environmental compliance)
Shaikh A. Tayeb, Environmental Engineer/GEMS Coordinator; Marshall J. Murdaugh, Safety and Occupational Health Manager; Jill E. Bradford, CWT Program Manager; Edward J. GannonIII, Assistant Chief, Facilities & Engineering Services

Project benefits included, minimize municipal solid waste (MSW) and hazardous waste generation at the site, it skipped landfill for “conventional” waste disposal, and P2 by properly managing onsite waste and increasing recycling activities. Greenhouse Gas emissions and carbon footprint were reduced from the site.

Battle Creek VAMC (Waste Management Program)
Erick M. Lawlor GEMS Coordinator

Developed a comprehensive Waste Management Program Manual that include sections on all aspects of Hazardous Waste for the facility such as Solid Waste, Universal Waste (Lamps, Batteries, Pesticides, Pharmaceuticals, and Mercury), Mercury Control and Reduction Plan, Hazardous Waste, Compliance Inspections, Spill Response, Service Environmental Aspects Analysis, and Regulatory Awareness Training.

Milwaukee VAMC (Food Waste Reduction)
Amanda Henderson, Division Manager Nutrition & Food Service; Sara Schoen, FS Ops Supervisory Administrative Dietitian; Sandra Westphal, Treatment Alternative Group Program Manager; Matt Hively, GEMS Environmental Engineer; Casey Schimek, GEMS Program Manager

The Milwaukee VA reduced food waste by 5,600 pounds through food donation to on-site outpatient programs, all while increasing access to Mental health care. VAMC provided $5,200 worth of meals to hungry Veterans, with no cost to the VA. By doing this project VAMC improved access to mental health care for Veterans, increasing participation in TAG by 30% (they went from 11-12 per group to up to 28).

Altoona James E Van Zandt VAMC (Recycling)
Derek Coughenour, Facility Sustainability Officer, Associate Director; Glenn Holsinger, GEMS Program Manager; Bill Ferrell, Green Team Champion (Gang Green); Green teams; Housekeeping Staff

Facility achieved 55.34 % recycling for CY 2019. Facility has a well-established environmental program that has, over the years, entrenched itself as one of the best in the nation. The facility’s many Green Teams have worked issues such as paper reduction, and reduction of Regulated Medical Waste in the Ambulatory Surgery Department (ASD) from the grass roots up.

Atlanta VAMC (Indoor Air Quality)
Charles McEwen GEMS Program Manager and Joshua Jenkins GEMS Program Manager

The Breath Clean (Indoor) Air project was conducted to correct the poor indoor air quality that facility was experiencing. The GEMS Program was able to purchase combination charcoal – high efficiency purifying air (HEPA) filters in lieu of the historically used strictly HEPA filters to also capture organic vapors and odors that have been reducing our air quality, ultimately resulting in negatively affected staff and closure of our operating room (OR) suite. This project will provide $200,000 in cost avoidance.

Honorable Mention: Louisiana VAMC (Environmental Wash System)
Kiarra Mackey, GEMS Coordinator; Robert Chaplin, Energy Engineer; & Eugene Matthews, Painter

The Environmental Wash System helps engineering adhere to environmental guidelines as well as avoid stormwater pollution issues. The system increases community expectations of environmental accountable clean up processes to make the system a must-have for the professional painter.

Honorable Mention: Altoona James E Van Zandt VAMC (Stormwater Management & Swale project)
Nicholas Chabon, Project Engineer for GEMS & Zacharia Wasser, Project Engineer

The parking lot swale project eliminated a significant impervious surface to return it to green space that reduced erosion, captured and re-directed stormwater to our wetland pond. The wetland pond is designed to discharge its outflow from the bottom of the pond and discharged water flows into the Little Juniata River as well as the Chesapeake Drainage System from the bottom of the pond. This protects the ecology of the stream and reduces the impact of pollution to the downstream watershed.

Sustainable Building Award Winner

Charleston VAMC (Operating Room Air Handler Recirculation Project)
Leander Ferguson, Environmental Engineer; Andrew Sayer, GEMS Program Manager; Koffi Koglo, Project Manager; W.C. Neel, CAN Engineering

The HVAC comprehensively upgraded its surgical suit air circulation system and brought it into compliance with new VA standards. The massive new system included a redesign to meet new VA energy standard of 80% outside air using variable air volume handling units. The scope provided all duct modifications, analysis/adjustments to neighboring air handling unit’s, controls, rigging, masonry, and rental HVAC equipment during renovation as required. A new HEPA filter was mounted outside. This project is projected to save energy costs and improve humidity control.

Fleet Award Winner

Atlanta VAMC (Ride share project)
Charles McEwen, GEMS Program Manager and Joshua Jenkins, GEMS Program Manager

The Atlanta Veterans Affairs Health Care System collaborated with a local community ride share company to deliver benefits to all staff. The ride share program falls in line with Executive Order 13834 (Efficient Federal Operations) and has been instrumental in the Veterans Affairs mission. The impact of this program has freed up 235 parking spots for our Veterans, saved 3,867,057 commuter miles, reduced CO2 by 3,026,655, and saved $1,817,603.