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.


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:

  • Executive Order 13514 - Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance,
  • Executive Order 13423 - Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management,
  • 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),
  • Additionally, the Environmental Remediation category recognizes efforts to remediate and prevent contamination on Department land.

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


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 Senior Sustainability Officers (SSOs) 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 SSOs 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.


These award categories and descriptions are the same as descriptions for the GreenGov Presidential Awards, unless otherwise noted.

Sustainability Hero Award

This award recognizes an individual who is a sustainability champion and agent of change within his or her agency. The selected individual demonstrates a history of outstanding performance in leading implementation of sustainable practices while reflecting a comprehensive approach to energy and environmental management through innovative strategies, practices, and outreach.

Green Innovation Award

This award recognizes an innovation or idea with clear potential to transform the Federal community's overall energy and environmental performance, in keeping with the goals defined by EO 13514. This award will be presented to an individual or team for the development and execution of a novel new product, project, program, design, or revolutionary idea that facilitates sustainability in the Federal Government. Award winners will ideally represent efforts in the implementation stage; however, innovation that demonstrates near-term feasibility may also be recognized.

Lean, Clean, and Green Award

This award recognizes outstanding organizational achievement in building or fleet energy efficiency or renewable energy development and deployment. The winning project or program will demonstrate a combination of measurable results in energy efficiency (reduced energy consumption), increased use of renewable energy, and reduced greenhouse gas pollution; or decreased petroleum fuel consumption and greenhouse gas pollution reduction.

Good Neighbor Award

This award recognizes a Federal agency team or facility for its exemplary application of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, Livability Principles and/or engagement with local or regional communities to promote one or more of the goals of EO 13514. Awards in this category will focus on local Federal agency representatives who are actively involved in community planning and sustainability initiatives, have established and are pursuing collaborative sustainability goals, and demonstrate success in aligning policies and practices with community partners to achieve those goals. Nominations for this category must include at least one letter of support from a non-Federal local or regional community partner in order to be considered. Include the letter of support in your nomination materials as an attachment.

Green Dream Team Award

This award recognizes exceptional leadership by an interagency green team to effectively place a Federal sustainability idea into action. The selected team will have clearly demonstrated that its collaboration efforts were integral to the successful implementation and institutionalization of the idea within its office, agency, or agencies and will highlight collaboration through Regional Councils, Federal Executive Boards, workgroups or other interagency organizations.

Building the Future Award

This award recognizes the Federal or Military facility or installation that is "the whole package," and demonstrates the policy and performance goals of the President's Executive Order on Sustainability in each aspect of its operations. Nominees should demonstrate achievement in all aspects of the facility lifecycle: building or installation design and operation, cradle-to-grave supply chain management, community engagement, employee involvement, and innovation. Nominees are limited to completed projects.

Environmental Remediation Award

This category recognizes efforts to remediate and prevent contamination on Department land. Examples include green remediation initiatives, use of new and emerging technologies, partnerships with other agencies or organizations, reduction of carbon footprint through new techniques, project management or initiatives in areas such as bureau operations, land management practices, technology enhancement/transfer, environmental education/training, policy making, program infrastructure development, and research related to improving efficiency in remediating Department land. Note: This category changed in 2007. It no longer covers far-reaching ecosystem protection accomplishments, which are recognized through the Department Partners in Conservation Awards. If you have any questions about whether or not your project will fit this category, please contact the Award Coordinator, Ms. Katie Chiang at 202-208-5939 who will review questions on a case-by-case basis.


Step 1: SUBMIT NOMINATIONS ON-LINE at: 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. Bureaus and offices with their own environmental awards programs may elect to only nominate their award recipients for consideration for the Department Award. Contact Ms. Katie Chiang at 202-208-5939 or your Bureau Award Coordinator (see list attached) 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 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 7 best nominations. Note: “Partners” must be nominated by their partner bureau or office for work done on a Department project.
Step 3: MEMORANDUM FROM HEAD OF BUREAU or OFFICE SSO. Bureau and office SSOs must send a Memorandum of Nomination to forward their 7 best nominations to Mr. Willie R. Taylor, Director, Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance by May 31, 2012.  If you are a nominator, please contact your bureau award coordinator to ensure your project will be included in 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 Department facilities.  Note: By their signature in the Memorandum of Nomination, bureau and office SSOs 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 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 SSO.  The Department SSO finalizes the selection of recipients and signs a memorandum announcing Award recipients.  There will be 8 to 10 award recipients for the 2012 Department Awards.
Step 6: RECOGNITION CEREMONY. The Awards ceremony and reception are tentatively scheduled for mid- October or early-November 2012, in Washington, DC.  Recognition includes an award presented by a high-level Department official and descriptions 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 to attend the ceremony.
Step 7: GREENGOV PRESIDENTIAL AWARD NOMINATION: The GreenGov Presidential Award nomination process is now independent of the Department’s Environmental Achievement Awards.  Bureaus may determine their own criteria for nominees to be considered for the GreenGov Awards.  Nominees must verify compliance with applicable laws and regulations as required in the GreenGov Presidential Award Nomination form.  The GreenGov Presidential Awards do not allow nomination attachments, but do allow links to websites.  GreenGov nominees may elect to post all relevant nomination information online so that it might be considered in their GreenGov nomination.  GreenGov nominees are also required to have three references.  Please see the GreenGov Presidential Awards website ( for guidance on who may serve as a reference.  Nominators are encouraged to contact their bureau or office’s award coordinator to ensure that their nominations comply with their bureau process for these awards. 


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 should 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

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 or office, write one joint nomination that demonstrates the full scope of the program. Select a lead bureau or 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 so that you include the magnitude of environmental and/or energy benefits derived from the project (e.g., square feet of recycled-content carpet, pounds of waste diverted from the landfill, dollar values of green contracts, amount of greenhouse gas emission reductions, amount of energy and/or water saved, amount of renewable energy produced or purchased, etc.).  Report both the absolute quantity and percentage change when compared to the previous fiscal year.

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

Tip 9: highlight the cost effective use of innovative techniques and solutions

Tip 10 (For Partners): Clearly show your organization’s relationship to the Department project and to the Department as a whole. Explain your organization’s role in the project.


A panel of reviewers 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: Project is unique in its approach and/or highly effective at employing proven strategies

Criteria 2: Project demonstrates clear results in improving sustainability of Department operations

Criteria 3: Project is being replicated elsewhere or has high potential for replication across the Department

Criteria 4: Category specific criteria:

  • Sustainability Hero Award – Nominee demonstrates career history of sustainability achievements
  • Green Innovation Award – Project is especially innovative in its design and/or approach
  • Lean, Clean, and Green Award – Project displays a combination of demonstrable results in efficiency, renewable energy, petroleum reduction, & GHG reduction
  • Good Neighbor Award – Demonstrates effective partnership with and support of local community
  • Green Dream Team Award – Team was highly effective in collaboration to reach shared goal
  • Building the Future Award – Demonstrates achievement in all aspects of facility lifecycle (design, building, management, etc.)


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