Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
Seasoned backpacker and adventurer Yang Lu earned the grand prize in the 2015 Share the Experience photo contest with this image of a sunburst captured at sunrise in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. Yang has made the outdoors part of his daily life and finds deep connection to the land through his lens.
“My photography is not just for recreation, it is to inspire people to explore these areas." -- Yang Lu
Photo by Yang Lu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan. In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or "Sakura," is an exalted flowering plant. The beauty of the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with the evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.
As part of our commitment to open, transparent government, the Department of the Interior joins other Federal agencies in posting its fiscal year (FY) 2014 Office of Management and Budget Sustainability/Energy Scorecard, which rates each agencies sustainability and energy performance. This is the fifth year that Federal agencies are posting these scorecards publicly.
This scorecard serves as a benchmark to help us track our progress toward statutory and Executive Order goals. Actions to meet those goals have resulted in reduced pollution and costs.
Interior is meeting goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; decrease energy use; increase renewable energy use; decrease potable water use; and decrease fleet petroleum use:
Greenhouse gas emissions: Reduced scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 18.8 percent compared to 2008 and reduced scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions by 22.7 percent compared to 2008.
Energy use: Reduced energy intensity by 33 percent compared to 2003.
Renewable energy: Obtained 13.3 percent of facility electricity from renewable sources.
Potable water use: Reduced the potable water use intensity by 14.5 percent compared to 2007.
Fleet petroleum use: Reduced fleet petroleum use by 21 percent compared to 2005.
Some notable accomplishments from 2014 include:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Corn Creek Administrative Office and Visitor Center at the Desert National Wildlife Reserve in Nevada, completed a net zero energy building which incorporates a 91.5 kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) system, and a 23.5-ton water source heat pump.
The U.S Geological Service's Great Lakes Science Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan completed a wet laboratory upgrade. This project eliminated the use of single pass-through well water drawn from the local aquifer by installing a closed loop, re-circulating system using purchased water. This change resulted in 52.6 million gallons of water saved annually and the elimination of the $9,000 annual discharge permit fee. The use of a re-circulating system also reduced the operation of the facility's chillers, as the old system needed to chill the incoming well water; this has saved 350 megawatt-hours of electricity annually.
The Bureau of Reclamation's Oklahoma-Texas Area Office, working with the Mountain Park Master Conservancy District (District), developed a reservoir drought forecast model to estimate future water availability under continuing drought conditions. Use of this model resulted in an increased understanding of the significance of the ongoing drought, and led to implementation of significant water conservation measures. These water conservation efforts have allowed the District to realize a 37 percent reduction in water deliveries (approximately 1.14 billion gallons) and an energy cost savings of approximately $40,000 (nearly 600,000 kilowatt-hours).
One area showing a need for improvement is increasing the percentage of sustainable buildings. One of our key strategies to achieve the sustainable building goal for existing buildings is to conduct building assessments to identify current performance levels and the necessary programmatic, operational, systems, and envelope changes.
For more information on greening and sustainability, please visit the Greening the Department of the Interior website at: http://www.doi.gov/greening