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EPA Invites other Federal Agencies to Join in Federal Green Challenge

Release Date: 04/22/2008
Contact Information: Melanie Wood, Federal Green Challenge Coordinator (206) 553-1107 /; Suzanne Skadowski, Public Affairs (206) 553-6689 /

(Seattle, WA – April 22, 2008) Going beyond the usual Earth Day celebrations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 10 is committing to reduce our Greenhouse Gas emissions by 5% over the next year and challenging other federal agencies in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington to do the same. To meet this challenge and reduce our Carbon Footprint, the EPA Regional Office is making significant improvements in our energy use, transportation, water and waste management.

According to Elin Miller, EPA’s regional administrator in Seattle, Washington, “We know the importance of leadership in climate change, and the need to ‘walk the talk.’ The Federal Green Challenge will encourage Pacific Northwest federal agencies to work together and focus our efforts on critical energy, transportation and other activities to reduce our Greenhouse Gases.”

During the Federal Green Challenge, EPA Region 10 and other participating federal agencies will:

  1. Set a goal of at least a 5% reduction in the next year in two of the four focus areas (Energy, Transportation, Water and/or Waste);
  2. Establish a 2006 or 2007 Greenhouse Gas emissions baseline;
  3. Work toward meeting our goals for at least 1 year;
  4. Measure our results at year’s end and;
  5. Share our progress with each other and the public and get recognized through the Champions of Green Government Recognition program in the summer of 2009.

The Federal Green Challenge was initiated by EPA Region 10 partly in response to the President’s 2007 Executive Order 13423: Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management, which requires federal agencies to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions by 3% annually. To meet the Challenge, Pacific Northwest federal agencies could make changes such as:

Energy and Transportation
  • Purchase renewable electricity or use solar, geothermal, wind, biomass, and biogas technologies.
  • Reduce employee commuting and travel through flexible work schedules and use public and alternative transportation; use video, teleconferencing or web-based meetings for training and collaboration; and use fuel-efficient and alternative fuel fleet vehicles.

Water and Waste
  • Switch to alternate water sources including: reclaimed municipal water, treated process water, or collected rainwater (especially for landscape irrigation).
  • Aim for 100% re-use, recycling and/or composting of all office waste; purchase and use 100% recycled materials.

Shrinking our Carbon Footprint:
  • An office of 600 workers produces about 1292 tons of carbon through their energy usage. Reducing by 10% is equivalent to taking 20 passenger vehicles off the road.
  • If a worker avoids using their car to commute to work just two days a week, Greenhouse Gas emissions would be reduced by an average of 1,600 pounds per year per worker.
  • Improving the energy efficiency of commercial and industrial buildings in the U.S. by just 10% would save Americans about $20 billion and reduce Greenhouse Gases equal to the emissions from about 30 million vehicles.
  • Each ton (2000 pounds) of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4000 kilowatts of energy, and 7000 gallons of water. This represents a 64% energy savings, a 58% water savings, and 60 fewer pounds of air pollution!

"Many federal agencies have already made great strides in becoming greener," said Miller, "and this challenge will help us measure those improvements and learn from each other to further reduce our Carbon Footprint."

For more information on EPA’s Federal Green Challenge and reducing your carbon footprint:

To participate in the Federal Green Challenge, email us at: