Let Your GREEN Ideas Shine Through!
From October 19th through October 31st, Federal employees took part in the GreenGov Challenge -- an online participatory program that challenged Federal employees to take part in the President's Executive Order on Federal Sustainability by submitting their own clean energy ideas and voting on others. The Department of the Interior then extended the challenge from December 1, 2009, to February 26, 2010, and asked employees to submit ideas on ways to Green the Department.
Department employees submitted ideas within seven main categories:
- Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions - New strategies for how we use energy, travel, and commute can help lower our carbon footprint;
- Conserving Energy - Making Federal buildings, fleets, and electronics more efficient saves energy and money;
- Conserving Water - Using native plants for landscaping and reusing water to flush toilets are just two examples;
- Eliminating Waste - Reduce, reuse, and recycle (and compost!) are just the beginning. How can we close the loop?
- Purchasing Sustainable Products and Services - How can Federal purchasing power support great clean technologies that create American jobs?
- Sustainable Buildings - We spend, on average, 90% of our days indoors. How can our Federal workspaces be more efficient and healthier?
- Other - Any other suggestions which don't fit the above categories.
During the Challenge timeframe, employees submitted over 1,700 ideas. Subject matter experts reviewed these ideas and selected the top ten "winners." The top winning idea, submitted by Renee Snyder from the Bureau of Land Management, was to place wind-up flashlights in the Department's vehicles for use when out in the field and in emergencies. These wind-up flashlights do not need batteries to operate thus reducing waste and saving the Department resources. The Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance, along with the Department's Sustainability Council, is currently pursuing funding to implement this top winning idea Department-wide.
Below are the rest of the top winners and their ideas which are currently being reviewed for possible implementation Department-wide:
- Christopher Brown, BLM, Print interagency visitor passes with four years on them instead of one.
- Kerry Whitford, BOR, Implement a DOI-wide lighting contract, similar to the DOI-wide electronics contract, and mandate that all fixtures be purchased from the DOI contract. more
- Joe DiVittorio, BOR, Retro-fit buildings with either small electric subunit water heaters located at the point of use, or install hot water recirculation systems. more
- Dan Cox, FWS, Review current landscaping at Federal buildings by examining the potential use of: native low-water plants; walking paths; sitting areas; compost, water collection, and native habitat demonstrations; and educational signs.
- Brian Goodspeed, NPS, Consider eliminating the Golden Age card from the Federal Recreational Lands Program and allow seniors in at no cost, as the program may cost more to administer and be problematic to use for seniors.
- Mike Torkelson, NPS, Use a tankless water heater if possible. If not, substitute a smaller tank type water heater for a larger one and put it on a timer so it is not heating water when the building/office is closed.
- Michael Cunanan, FWS, Set up a website for ride sharing from airports to DOI campuses or events.
- Kristen Peters, BLM, Green DOI's procurement contract(s) to ensure only green products are provided to the Department. Administrative officers and purchase card holders should be educated and required to purchase green products and only what is needed.
- Brian Straka, NPS, Start a campaign that targets littering.
While the Challenge may be over, the work continues! DOI Employees may continue to submit Green ideas for implementation at the Department.