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Saving Energy, Money and Preventing Pollution Can Work for Everyone

Release Date: 3/8/2004
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

PHILADELPHIA – It may not surprise you that all the 185 scientists, managers, facility staff and contractors who work at the Environmental Science Center in Ft. Meade think about ways to prevent pollution.

At the science center, everyone plays a role in the environmental management system (EMS), which is how the lab manages the environmental impacts that result from lab operations.

“These scientists do bench chemistry, not building management. Yet, over the past two years all of the employees have become engaged in finding ways to make the changes needed to make their building as environmentally friendly as possible. Laboratories and offices around the world are making this a priority,” said mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Donald S. Welsh.

At the Fort Meade lab are scientists who develop the analytical methods necessary to monitor pesticide residues in food.

Chemists test soil for contaminants. EPA microbiologists test drinking water to ensure
its safety. Hospital disinfectants are tested to ensure their claims are valid. Science center staff also inspect manufacturing facilities, hazardous waste sites, and public and private labs.

With all this going on, in early 2003, the Environmental Science Center at Ft. Meade
still became the first EPA facility and the first non-industrial federal facility to be
independently registered to ISO 14001, the international standard for environmental
management systems (EMS). Following in their footsteps, EPA’s regional office in
Philadelphia is making progress toward ISO 14001 certification. It passed an external
audit and now has national EPA-EMS certification – the first EPA regional office in the country.

Offices who undertake an environmental management system may find that, like the science center and the Philadelphia regional office, with good participation they too will have positive results. EPA’s regional office has already reduced paper consumption by 30 percent, reduced annual electricity usage by 135,000 kWh/year, and has encouraged 93 percent of the employees to take public transportation to work. For more EMS ideas for offices check .

Businesses around the world are using this same approach. We encourage you to consider it for your business. Each employee, working as a part of a team, looks in his or her work environment for ways to prevent pollution and save money.

      Now in its second year, the science center’s EMS results include:

• Reduced paper copies by 24%
• Increased paper recycling by 5%
• Reduced electricity consumption 17%
• Reduced water consumption by 37%
• Trained other federal agencies to develop their own EMS
• Reduced chemical storage, only chemicals essential for operation on site
• Using 100% recycled-content process chlorine-free copy paper;
    It is the Environmental Science Center’s policy to integrate environmental stewardship into our operations. In fact, this job is so important that the lab awards Golden Groundhog certificates to people who make special contributions to the EMS effort. There are many groundhogs living on the Ft. Meade property – the impetus for the idea of the Golden Groundhog mascot.

    Under the EMS, the center is beginning to see a return on its investment in pollution prevention, cost savings and creative environmental management practices. To learn more about environmental management systems, see EPA’s website .