Greening The Department of Veteran Affairs: A Year in Review
January 26, 2011
Posted to The White House Blog by CJ Cordova on January 26, 2011 at 04:23 PM EST
We are making great strides toward operating more energy efficient facilities, using more renewable energy, “greening” our vehicle fleets, and achieving other milestones on the path to creating a sustainable agency. In 2010, we developed and implemented dozens of projects, which will translate to improved care of our Veterans and their families, cost-savings, better operational efficiency, and a healthier environment for all.
Check out our list of top achievements:
- Implementation of renewable energy projects has been the foundation of the VA’s energy-savings program. We recognize the benefits of investing in a clean energy technologies. In 2010, we worked on 21 solar energy projects; the design and installation of 2 wind turbines; the implementation of geothermal systems at 14 sites; and began work on installing 5 renewably-fueled and 1 fuel-cell powered cogeneration units.
- VA has 25 of green buildings with official ratings and “green” certifications from Green Globes or LEED, and some with campus wide recognition. That means that 250 VA buildings are “green” and 13% of our total square footage is considered sustainable.
- Promoting a clean, green agency means investing in alternative fueling opportunities for VA’s vehicle fleet. More than 40% of our current fleet can run on alternative fuels such as E-85 (ethanol blended with gasoline) and biodiesel. We already have 14 stations in operation with many more planned for design and installation in 2011.
- Metering is a great data and tracking tool for our energy-intensive agency. We need to identify the opportunities where VA can become more energy efficient — our newly installed electrical meters help our facility energy managers do just that. We’re also in the process of installing utility meters to monitor our water, chilled water, steam, and natural gas usage.
- Did you know VA has gone green? We have step up our “green” outreach efforts to our employees and the public. Information on our “greening” efforts can be found on a newly created information portal: www.green.va.gov. We also have the “Green Routine” initiative, a grassroots effort to encourage and support all VA employees to take personal action to create a healthier work place and help us meet our energy and environmental goals. Check us out online!
- Community involvement has always been a tradition at VA. Our medical center in Martinsburg, WV is greening their community. They are the recipients of the 2010 GreenGov Presidential Good Neighbor Award for their Green Kitchen initiative. Highlights of this initiative include decreasing the medical center’s landfill food waste by 86 percent while contributing 265 pounds of weekly food donations to a non-profit transitional housing group for Veterans.
CJ Cordova is the Acting Director for Green Management Program Service