The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education received a 2014 Federal Green Challenge award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for improving its water consumption levels and its electronic sustainability and recycling efforts in 2013 by the highest percentage increase compared to the previous year in the Southeast region. ORISE is managed by Oak Ridge Associated Universities for the U.S. Department of Energy.
According to the EPA website, the 2014 Federal Green Challenge award winners are recognized “for their outstanding efforts and for their leadership in reducing the environmental footprint of federal government activities.”
“ORISE reduced its water consumption by 60 percent in 2013 with the majority of the improvement resulting from a more efficient, automated sprinkler system with a moisture sensor used for some of its landscaping, which would only irrigate when the soil was dry,” said Tom Wantland, director of ORAU’s environment, safety, and health programs. “If moisture from rain was present, the irrigation system would automatically detect it, and the system would not operate.”
In 2013, ORISE improved its electronics recycling efforts by recycling more than 35,000 pounds of electronics, a 40 percent increase compared to 2012.
“In 2013, more than 400 participating facilities, representing nearly 1.6 million federal employees, ‘walked the talk’ in various target areas (Waste, Electronics, Purchasing, Water, Energy, and/or Transportation) and reduced their environmental footprint, which in many cases also resulted in significant cost savings,” according to the EPA website.
“As the managing contractor for ORISE, ORAU is proud to do its part to help cut government costs and improve the environment,” Wantland said. “ORAU has a long history of being environmentally friendly as seen by our ISO14001 certification for environmentally sound business practices. Additionally, ORAU’s Center for Science Education building in Oak Ridge was the first new, gold-level, LEED-certified office building in Tennessee.”
For more information on this award, visit http://www.epa.gov/fgc/awards/2014.html.