Volpe Recognized for Leadership in DOT Sustainability
June 05, 2012
Volpe's Sustainability AchievementsEnergy Efficiency
- Awarded DOT's first energy saving performance contract, saving $100K/year. Contract included the installation of an energy management system.
- Replaced conventional light switches with occupancy sensors in offices and meeting rooms, saving $22K/yr.
- Participating in a regional electrical load reduction program by reducing energy consumption during summer high demand situations to minimize the chance of brown-outs.
- Retrofitted bathrooms with low-flush/low-flow plumbing fixtures, saving 800,000 gallons of water annually.
- Purchased enhanced irrigation equipment, saving 500,000 gallons of water annually.
- Achieved a 60 percent recycling rate, saving $7K and eliminating approximately 50 tons from landfills annually.
- Installed high-velocity hand dryers in all bathrooms, saving 4 tons of waste.
- Working with a recycling service provider that is converting kitchen grease into bio-diesel for vehicles, saving removal fees
Volpe, The National Transportation Systems Center, established the first Green Team within the Department of Transportation (DOT) in 2006, leading the charge to advance a culture of conservation, recycling, and reuse. Each year, Volpe's team orchestrates a campus-wide clean-up week, known as Green Week, which has helped boost Volpe's recycling from 3 percent of total waste in 2006 to over 60 percent of total waste today.
"Our annual Green Week has been used as an opportunity over the last four years to educate and communicate with Volpe employees about the importance of recycling," said Adam Klauber, chair of Volpe's Green Team. "Over the past four years during Green Week, we have recycled over 70 tons of reusable or recyclable material."
Volpe was recently recognized by the DOT for its environmental efforts, winning three Sustainability Awards. The Volpe Green Team's Adam Klauber of the Center for Environment and Energy Systems, and Bill Sullivan of Volpe's Facilities Division were honored for identifying opportunities and implementing actions to reduce energy, water, and waste. Since 2000, Klauber and Sullivan have saved Volpe nearly $1.6 million in operational costs. Klauber was also personally recognized for his extraordinary leadership in creating and instituting effective and innovative sustainability initiatives within DOT.
Green Team members continually work to improve existing sustainability programs. The recycling program scope has expanded beyond the original plain white paper to now include all paper, plastics, glass, and more. Electronics and furniture are donated to local schools, and non-functional furniture is donated at no cost to a re-use organization.
Looking beyond the traditional tactical approach to sustainability, the Green Team has worked strategically to make the workplace greener, developing an award-winning commuter survey that serves as the method for capturing federal commuters' greenhouse gas emissions in compliance with Executive Order 13514. This tool has been touted by the White House Council on Environmental Quality as the best tool for measuring commuter greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition to their internal sustainability efforts, Klauber and his colleagues in the Center for Environmental and Energy Systems provide critical data and analyses to sponsors to support energy independence, innovations in the movement of people and goods, and transportation-related climate-change mitigation.