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2009 Environmental Achievement Awards Due 09/18/09





AWARD TYPES

Individual - an employee of the Department of the Interior

Team - Department employee or a combination of Department and non-Departmental employees

Partner - a Departmental partner organization, which may be a contractor, a Federal/State agency, tribal nations or organizations, or non-profit entities, that worked with Departmental employees on a Departmental project.


AWARD SCOPE

The Department Environmental Achievement Awards recognize Department individual employees and teams as well as Department partners who have attained exceptional environmental achievements in accordance with the following policies:

  • Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-58),

  • Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-140),

  • Departmental Manual - Compliance with Waste Management Requirements (518 DM 2),

  • Strategic Plan for Greening the Department of the Interior Through Waste Prevention, Recycling and Federal Acquisition, and

  • Additionally, the Environmental Stewardship category recognizes efforts to prevent and remediate contaminated sites on Department land.

The Department Environmental Achievement Awards provide recognition for Department employees and partners for exceptional work done on Department projects.


ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE

The Environmental Achievement Awards recognize recipients and projects worthy of replication across the Department. Compliance with applicable laws and regulations is a requirement for receiving an Award. There must be no environmental compliance problems (e.g., Environmental Protection Agency or State fines and penalties levied against a facility or open environmental audit findings) associated with a nomination. Therefore, bureau and office heads are required to verify that all recommended award recipients are in compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations or that all compliance-related problems have been successfully addressed. By signing the Memorandum of Nomination, bureau and office heads are certifying that environmental compliance findings associated with the submitted nominations are closed or that all compliance-related problems have been sufficiently addressed to their satisfaction. The Department reserves the right to withhold recognition from any recommended recipient in violation of any environmental Federal, State or local rules, laws, or regulations of any kind.

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AWARD CATEGORIES

  • Waste/Pollution Prevention and Recycling
This category recognizes source reduction practices related to the generation of non-hazardous solid wastes, hazardous wastes, or pollution from a site, facility, or operation through any change in the design, manufacturing, or use/reuse of materials or products; and/or the amount of toxicity in waste materials before recycling, reuse, treatment or disposal. This category also recognizes recycling activities - including collection, separation, and processing - by which products or other materials are recovered from the waste stream for use in the manufacture of new products (other than use as fuel for producing heat or power by combustion) at a Federal site, facility, or operation. This category also recognizes electronics life-cycle management programs, including electronics recycling. Preference is given to nominations that include outreach programs/projects or educational efforts designed to promote pollution prevention and waste prevention goals and objectives of E.O. 13423; promote recycling at the site, facility, or operation; and promote partnerships with the surrounding community to promote recycling.
  • Green Purchasing
This category recognizes the most effective and innovative programs implemented for purchase and use of recycled content, Energy Star/energy efficient and Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT)-registered products, environmentally preferable, or biobased products at a Federal site, facility, or operation. The nomination must describe specific purchases of goods and services in these categories, where applicable. It also must include a discussion of how green products requirements were incorporated in supply and services contacts (e.g., specifications, scope of work provision, performance-based provisions). In addition, nominees must have a written, integrated green purchasing plan (or affirmative procurement plan), policy, or procedures; training of contracting officials, and requirements staff; and education and outreach to facility staff and contractors. There will be a preference for innovative purchasing techniques, such as the nomination of green purchasing requirements in synopses posted on FedBizOps.com, the use of solicitation or contract templates, blanket purchase agreements requiring the supply of green products, and the use of past performance criteria and evaluation factors for award for knowledge of the supply and use of green products. Preference also is given for outreach programs/projects or educational efforts designed to promote the green purchasing objectives of E.O. 13423.
  • High Performance/Sustainable Buildings
This category recognizes the most innovative Federal Government high performance building projects, sustainable design and green building projects, the conservation and efficient use of energy and water, and the use of renewable energy sources. Nominations are limited to completed projects. Nominations should address all facets of a structure/project's life cycle (i.e. encompass project design, energy efficiency, water conservation, renewable energy use, materials usage, and building operations). For High Performance/Sustainable Buildings, each nomination should highlight the cost effective use of innovative techniques and solutions that utilize sustainable design principles in the planning, construction, and operation of Federal facilities. For energy and water conservation projects, each nomination should include the amount of energy and or water saved as a result of the project, in terms of both the absolute quantity and percentage when compared to the previous fiscal year. Each renewable energy project nomination should include the amount of renewable energy produced or purchased as a result of the project, in terms of both absolute quantity and percentage when compared to the previous fiscal year. Each nomination should highlight the cost effective use of innovative techniques and solutions that utilize sustainable design principles in the planning, construction, and operation of Federal facilities. Each nomination should also include the magnitude of environmental and/or non-energy benefits derived from the project, such as metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions averted. Preference will be given to nominations that demonstrate innovation in response to technical, logistical, financial, and other challenges to implement the Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings and other goals in E.O. 13423 section 2(f). Preference is also given to projects that include outreach programs/projects or educational efforts designed to promote sustainable buildings, energy and water conservation and renewable energy use.
  • Alternative Fuel and Fuel Conservation in Transportation
This category recognizes programs, practices, and procedures implemented in a Federal fleet that result in significant alternative fuel use and fuel conservation measures in transportation. This includes establishment of new fuel infrastructure; methods for encouraging the use of alternative fuels; ride sharing programs; increased vehicle usage efficiency programs; hybrid vehicle or neighborhood electric vehicle acquisition and use; or any other methods your fleet uses to decrease petroleum consumption. Preference is given to nominations that demonstrate innovation in response to technical, logistical, financial, and other hurdles and support the goals of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, and E.O.13423.
  • Environmental Management Systems
This category recognizes the most effective and innovative programs to implement environmental management systems at the Department facilities in accordance with E.O. 13423. Implementation of organizational/facility-level environmental management systems shall include measurable environmental objectives, targets and associated management plans and also include a compliance management component as well as changes or amendments to contract or concessionaire agreements to reflect host EMS requirements. This category emphasizes the use of a formal EMS to identify and address environmental, transportation and energy issues as well as pursuit of sustainable practices identified in Section 2 of E.O. 13423. This category also recognizes efforts where an EMS has been used to enable enhanced external communication with those interested parties, including stakeholders, contractors or concessionaires, and neighbors, affected by activities of those implementing the EMS. Applicants for this category must have declared conformance to the EMS requirements of E.O. 13423 in accordance with the Clarification of Declaration of Conformance Requirements in Instructions to Executive Order 13423 issued by the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive on January 15, 2008. Preference is given to Environmental Management Systems programs that go beyond the basic compliance under E.O. 13423 and that address issues such as measurement and reduction of greenhouse gases.
  • Environmental Stewardship
This category recognizes efforts to prevent and remediate contaminated sites on Department land. Examples of such improvements or initiatives are in areas such as bureau operations, land management practices, technology enhancement/transfer, environmental education/training, policy making, program infrastructure development, and research. Note: This category changed in 2007. It no longer covers far-reaching ecosystem protection accomplishments, which are recognized through the Department Cooperative Conservation Awards. If you have any questions about whether or not your project will fit this category, please contact Award Coordinators, Ms. Katie Chiang at 202-208-5939 or Ms. Catherine Cesnik at 202-208-7554 who will review questions on a case-by-case basis.
  • Electronics Stewardship
This category recognizes programs, practices, and procedures at Federal agencies and their facilities which promote sustainable environmental stewardship of their Federal electronic assets in any one lifecycle phase, or in all three lifecycle phases: acquisition and procurement, operation and maintenance, and end-of-life management practices. Preference will be given to nominations that demonstrate innovation in response to technical, logistical, financial and other challenges to implement the electronics stewardship goals in E.O. 13423 section 2(h). Note: This is a new category for 2009.
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AWARD PROCESS

Step 1: SUBMIT NOMINATIONS ON-LINE at: www.doi.gov/greening/awards. Your bureau and office may attach additional guidelines for the submission of nominations within your organization. Please follow your bureau and office directions and deadlines. Contact Ms. Katie Chiang at 202-208-5939 or Ms. Catherine Cesnik at 202-208-7554 if you have any questions.

Step 2: BUREAU or OFFICE SCREENING. Bureau and office award coordinators, in coordination with environmental management staff, must access the on-line submissions to screen nominations for environmental compliance per the above requirements. Bureau coordinators should use bureau environmental audit results and the EPA's Online Tracking Information System database located at http://www.epa-echo.gov/otis/ to determine if the nominated facilities are in good standing. If there are any open findings, submit a one paragraph explanation of how the finding is addressed and why the nomination should be considered. Bureaus should also screen nominations for completeness, merit, and appropriateness for the Environmental Achievement Awards. Bureaus and offices are asked to forward only their seven best nominations. Note: "Partners" must be nominated by their partner bureau and office for work done on a Department project.

Step 3: MEMORANDUM FROM HEAD OF BUREAU or OFFICE. Bureau and office heads sign a Memorandum of Nomination to forward their seven best nominations to Mr. Willie R. Taylor, Director, Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance by September 18, 2009. If you are a nominator, please contact your bureau award coordinator to ensure your project will be included on this memorandum, or it cannot be considered for an Environmental Achievement Award. Each memo should include a short write-up for each nomination succinctly stating the merits of the project and why it is worthy of replication at other Departmental facilities. Note: By their signature in the Memorandum of Nomination, bureau and office heads certify that the submitted projects have good environmental compliance standing as outlined above.

Step 4: EVALUATION OF NOMINATIONS BY AWARDS PANEL. The Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance convenes a panel of representatives from bureaus and offices to select and recommend nominations for awards using the established evaluation criteria.

Step 5: RECOMMENDATIONS FINALIZED, ANNOUNCEMENT MADE. The Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance forwards recommendations to the Department's Senior Agency Official responsible for implementing E.O. 13423. The Senior Agency Official finalizes the selection of recipients and signs a memorandum announcing Award recipients.

Step 6: RECOGNITION CEREMONY. The Awards ceremony and luncheon are tentatively scheduled for October 2009, in Washington, DC. Recognition includes an award presented by a high-level Department official and a page on the Greening the Department website. Recipients and honorable mentions become a part of a network of environmental professionals who help spread best management practices across the Department. Bureaus and offices are responsible for travel costs for their award recipients.

Step 7: WHITE HOUSE CLOSING THE CIRCLE AWARD NOMINATION: In order to be considered for the White House Closing the Circle Award, Departmental Award recipients and honorable mentions must update their nomination materials with FY 2009 accomplishments and nominate themselves for the White House Closing the Circle Awards. This includes verifying compliance with the applicable laws and regulations as required in the White House Closing the Circle Award Nomination form.

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TIPS FOR WRITING A GOOD NOMINATION

The following are tips suggested by past judges.

Tip 1:  Submit a very succinct and very informative abstract of the achievement to show judges your program's key components. Your abstract must contain salient points of your project's merits. The abstract is used during discussions around the selection committee table. Be sure to include the who, what, when, where, why and how of your project in a detailed paragraph explaining the environmental benefits and the project's ability to be duplicated by other Departmental facilities.

Tip 2:  Review the nominations of the past award recipients at www.doi.gov/greening/awards.

Tip 3:  Use headings and bullets to separate important components of your narrative.

Tip 4:  If your project was a team effort, don't nominate a single individual. In the past, judges have raised questions about nominations that single out an individual without a clear justification why that individual deserves sole recognition.

Tip 5:  If your project falls into more than one award category, write only one nomination that demonstrates the full scope of your program, and select the award category that is the closest match.

Tip 6:  If your project encompasses more than one bureau and office, write one joint nomination that demonstrates the full scope of the program. Select a lead bureau and office to write and submit the nomination. Please list all member bureaus, offices, or agencies in your nomination narrative.

Tip 7:  Use quantitative data whenever possible (e.g., square feet of recycled-content carpet, pounds of waste diverted from the landfill, dollar values of green contracts, greenhouse gas reductions, etc.).

Tip 8: Closely read the evaluation criteria that will be used by judges to score your nomination.

Tip 9 (For Partners): Clearly show your organization's relationship to the Department project and to Department as a whole. Explain your organization's role in the project.

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EVALUATION CRITERIA

A panel of bureau and office representatives convened by the Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance will review and recommend Award recipients using the following four criteria.

For projects that won an Environmental Achievement Award in years past, the nomination submitted this year must demonstrate significant new developments or improvements over past achievements in order to be considered.

Criteria 1: Need & Implementation

  • A clear, compelling environmental need for the project

  • Challenges overcome to complete the project or action

  • Support for Federal/Department/bureau and office initiatives, such as: environmental initiatives, streamlined procedures, sound life-cycle cost accounting, and performance measures

  • Department and third-party audits to improve project performance

  • Applicable Federal, State, and local laws, Executive Orders, tribal codes and ordinances, and departmental and bureau policies were followed

  • Achievement of a recognized benchmark of environmental performance may have been demonstrated by third party certification, for example: the International Standards Organization 14000 series on Environmental Management Systems, EPEAT-registered products, Green Seal product or service standards, etc.

Criteria 2: Innovation

  • Extent to which the project incorporates innovative and emerging techniques or technologies

  • Project finds solutions to a common problem(s) faced across the Department

Criteria 3: Partnering and Cooperative Conservation

  • Project is exemplary in applying the E.O. 13352, "Facilitation of Cooperative Conservation." For example, project leaders succeeded in bringing together parties with differing resources and perspectives to cooperate on the project, and/or project leaders created sustaining relationships that will further the parties' involvement in public lands stewardship.

  • Critical project information, including rationale and results, were communicated in a variety of ways to multiple communities or stakeholders affected by or interested in the project or action, such as tribal communities, citizen organizations, townships, etc. (e.g. informative publications may have been translated into other languages for use by the public).

Criteria 4: Scope of Project Impact

  • Completed project contributed significantly to the improvement of the environment and/or reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

  • Other Department sites or Federal entities could replicate the strategies and techniques proven successful by this project

  • The project is institutionalized into business practices to provide continuing and accruing benefits to your bureau and office

  • Quantitative data shows improved performance over past years

  • The project must be complete or show several years of data/results.

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QUESTIONS AND OFF-INTERNET SUBMISSIONS

If you have any questions that cannot be answered by your bureau and office environmental award coordinator, please contact Ms. Katie Chiang, Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance, at 202-208-5939 or Ms. Catherine Cesnik at 202-208-7554.

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