FY2022 Environmental Stewardship
Small Group: NIEHS Campus Bottle Filler Installation
Marcos Flores, Derrick Vest, Eric Frails, Barry Yancey, Fred Schwartz, Steven Todd Johnson, Greg Westmoreland, Kerri Hartung, and Arrash Yazdani
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Office of Research Facilities (ORF) collaborated with the Health and Safety Branch (HSB) to replace dated water fountains with 43 modern bottle fillers. The goal was to reduce single-use plastics on campus, improve the health of staff, provide filtered drinking water, and increase employee satisfaction on-campus.
The age of the building and specifics of the construction created significant challenges and required a substantial amount of planning and engineering for some locations. In addition to the primary project goals of waste diversion and employee health, the new bottle fillers will require less maintenance over time. They are more easily accessible and can be maintained using fewer government resources than the prior aging fountains.
The reduction in plastic waste is substantial for an Institute with almost 2,000 staff members. These reductions help NIEHS lower its carbon footprint by lowering the amount of waste generated and reducing the number of visits needed from vendors and waste disposal vehicles. The bottle fillers include built-in meters that display the total number of bottle fills, which provides a highly visible reminder of the NIEHS commitment to sustainability.
FY2022 Energy and Fleet Management
Small Group: NIEHS Decarbonization Assessment
Kerri Hartung, Paul Johnson, Steve Novak, Bill Steinmetz, Alexander Santago, Kyle Askins, Bill Blair, Ben Hocutt, Lee Howell, and Greg Leifer
As part of the Resilient-Renewable (R2) NIEHS Initiative, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) completed a Decarbonization Assessment (DA), the first of its kind for the NIH. R2 NIEHS is a holistic approach adopted by the institute in 2021, to make NIEHS more energy efficient and resilient while lowering carbon emissions.
The first step in the initiative was achieving a net-zero energy-renewable energy certificate designation, powering facility operations with the equivalent of 100% percent renewable resources. The next step was to complete the DA, which evaluated both energy supply-side and demand-side strategies for campus decarbonization. Strategies included better energy efficiency, climate-ready new construction, system heat recovery, electrification of the Central Utility Plant, onsite renewable energy generation, and offsite renewable energy procurement.
In addition, information from the DA was used to develop a Utility Energy Services Contract Preliminary Assessment, as well as design considerations for a proposed new Computational and Clinical Sciences Building. The DA provides a foundation to delve deeper into the feasibility of specific strategies, plan for future revitalization of the main research facility on campus and build a decarbonization approach for the institute that aligns with the goals of Executive Order 14057.
FY2022 Electronic Stewardship
Small Group: NIEHS Database of Laboratory Equipment for Sharing (DOLES)
Raja Jothi, Ph.D., Kevin Gerrish, Ph. D, David C. Fargo, Ph.D., Cheryl Thompson, Joseph D. Poccia, Justin P. Kosak, Stephanie L. Bishop, Kenneth T. Webb, Tina Berger, and Steven R. McCaw
Shared use of existing research laboratory equipment offers significant energy, environmental, operational, and research-related benefits. To facilitate timely sharing of equipment between laboratories, the NIH National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) developed the Database of Laboratory Equipment for Sharing (DOLES), an intranet-hosted searchable collection.
Staff can access a wide range of over 100 different equipment types, from centrifuges to DNA sequencers, to microscopes, to pipetting robots. DOLES is the result of cross-institute collaboration between the scientific community, digital designers, web developers, and photographers. Since its inception in June of 2022, the database has accumulated over 600 page views. The shared use of existing equipment has reinforced collaboration between laboratories.
FY2021 Change Agents
Project/Program: NIH Resilient-Renewable (R2) National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences
Project Lead: Kerri Hartung
The NIH National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Resilient-Renewable (R2) NIEHS initiative is a holistic approach to making NIEHS more energy efficient and resilient while lowering its carbon emissions.
The first step in the initiative was achieving net-zero energy-renewable energy certificate status, powering facility operations with the equivalent of 100% renewable resources, approximately 25% that were carbon pollution-free. In addition, this reduced NIEHS’ Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions for FY 2021, by approximately 38% compared to the prior year.
Under R2 NIEHS, the next steps in FY 2022, include initiating a utility energy savings contract and a carbon neutrality assessment, laying a solid foundation for the implementation of Executive Order 14057 and ultimately carbon neutrality.
FY2021 Electronic Stewardship
Small Group: NIH NIEHS Printer/Paper Team
Rich Cabrera, Rhonda Carroll, Kerri Hartung, Lavern James, Paul Johnson, Steve Novak, Nicole Popovich, Carranza Smith, Bill Steinmetz, Arrash Yazdani
In FY 2021, the NIH National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Printer/Paper Team renewed the existing campus printer policy to enhance reduction efforts. This policy is a unique effort as the NIEHS is the only NIH facility with a strategy focused on printer and copier paper reduction.
Since the policy’s inception in FY 2015, paper usage declined from more than 5 million sheets per year to just over 2 million sheets in FY 2019. This decline was driven by paper-saving efforts such as paperless work processes, business meetings, and conferences along with educational reminders encouraging staff to print double-sided, reduce font and margins, and proof documents before printing. The further decline in printing triggered by maximum telework during the pandemic can be retained as the new policy thanks in part to the foundation laid by the printer policy.
FY2021 Electronic Stewardship
Small Group: NIEHS Green Researcher Self-assessment
Kerri Hartung, Diane D’Agostin, Rachel Faison, Paul Johnson, Justin Kosak, Amy Papaneri, Julie Rice, and Bill Steinmetz
The NIH National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Green Researcher Self-Assessment (GRSA) presented researchers at the Institute with an engaging 20-minute online survey-style assessment to determine the sustainability of their individual research practices. As part of the assessment, participants had the opportunity to share sustainability related success stories from their work and provide feedback on how to improve the assessment for the following year.
All participants received an individual analysis of their responses and tips for additional improvement. Twenty researchers participated in the inaugural year. Three researchers achieved silver level status and seven researchers achieved bronze level status. Overall, participants rated the GRSA 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Project/Program: NIH NIEHS COVID-19 Testing Operation
During fiscal year 2020, if the NIH did not sustain a healthy campus, the NIEHS mission could have been severely impacted while the workforce tried to return to work in July. The NIEHS COVID-19 Testing Operations Project Team contributed to the protection of collective health, efforts to prolong life, and showed positive analytics for its health impacts to the NIH community. Because of the new testing site, employees could be on campus with confidence in their safety and well-being during the pandemic.
The health of the workforce is integral to the success of the NIH mission and the NIEHS was one of the first off-site Clinical Center testing operations using an outside drive-through format. The lessons-learned from that experience with shipping, testing, technology interactions, equipment requirements, and analytics improvements were then utilized at several other NIH remote sites. Through this project, the NIEHS became a leader in deploying many of the newly recommended national health recommendations.
The NIEHS COVID-19 Testing Operations successfully tested 641 NIH staff and conducted 2,577 lab orders for the tests by September 30, 2020. The NIEHS project expanded its testing umbrella to campus daycare staff, janitorial, onsite construction contractors, and other essential personnel who needed to be on campus every day.
The project was a multifaceted success in terms of many teams working as one unit in order to succeed under a very short timeline. From when the return-to-work dates were set, the project had to execute its first test on-site test in less than three weeks. Issues involving cold storage, cold shipping, testing technique, appropriate staff, building a safe site infrastructure, information technology (IT) application access, communications, and testing procedures were all solved within short timeframes.
The NIEHS project used efficient management practices to create a process directed to maximize employee participation in order to have the greatest wellness impacts. An innovative video explained the entire process to enhance facility awareness, employee interest, and eliminate obstacles. NIEHS experienced a very low rate of known cases within its employees and no known on-campus transmission in part thanks to this wellness project. This project is an outstanding example of how a wellness program can have significant and wide impact to a larger community.
FY2020 Water Use Efficiency and Management
Small Group: NIH NIEHS Optimized Heating Hot Water Preheat and Reheat Piping System
Kyle Askins, James Victor Stancil III, Bill Blair, Terry Wells, Daniel Burk, Heather Davis, Joseph Shealey
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Research Facilities, Research Triangle Park, completed a design in September 2020, to convert the existing preheat and reheat heating hot water system in Rall Building 101, Modules A-E, from a constant to a variable volume pumping system. The Modules A-E heating hot water system currently consists of three 40-horsepower (hp) pumps on variable frequency drives that pump water continuously through valves at each piece of equipment. Since the valves are three-way type, the water either flows through the equipment or is bypassed, never allowing the pumps to reduce speed below 100 percent, leading to increased energy consumption.
This project designed the replacement of 45 control valves, consisting mostly of three-way valves near the end of their useful service life. The 45 new valves are primarily two-way valves that will open and close based on demand, causing the pumps to slow down during periods of non-peak use versus pumping 24/7 at 100 percent capacity. Eighteen in-line pumps were also included in the design for replacement with new electrically commutated motors for increased energy efficiency.
The reheat piping system design also included improvements to combine the Module A and Module B systems, allowing the Module B preheat system to shut off when outdoor temperatures are above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, the design includes the installation of additional flow sensors and temperature sensors in the preheat and reheat piping loops to provide increased flow and energy usage data for the heating hot water system. The annual estimated savings of the project is 540,000 kWh and $32,500.
FY2020 Green Labs
Small Group: NIH NIEHS Replace 15 Cold Rooms
The NIH Office of Research Facilities, Research Triangle Park, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, completed a project to replace 15 environmentally controlled lab rooms with more sustainable and energy efficient spaces.
The construction impacted approximately 2,100 square feet in Building 101, the main scientific research building on campus. All the rooms that were replaced were either not working or had unreliable climate control, causing unwanted infiltration and condensation in the units leading to mold growth and high maintenance costs. The project was designed to reduce heat transfer into the cooled spaces, reduce the amount of energy used to cool and condition the space, allow fresh air to circulate, and exhaust from the space to achieve efficient, reliable, economical, and healthful lab operations.
To accomplish the design plans, thermally efficient non-ozone depleting urethane foam insulation, high efficiency permanent split capacitor fan motors for the new fan coil units, and corrosive-resistant non-toxic, non-leaching welded polypropylene piping for the fan coil chilled water piping loop were installed. The new rooms also utilize digital temperature recorders that can be accessed via a USB drive instead of paper chart recorders, leading to a more sustainable way of logging room temperature.
These energy efficient features are being replicated in a phase two environmentally controlled room replacement project. Since substantial completion of this project in September 2020, these new rooms are projected to save 520,000 kWh per year and $28,000 annually compared to the existing cold rooms. This energy savings equates to saving the equivalent of 368 metric tons of greenhouse gases, over 62 households of annual electrical usage, 912,310 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle, or 405,112 pounds of coal burned.
FY2020 Good Neighbor Award
Small Group: NIH Drain Disposal Policy
Paul Johnson, Timothy Adkins, Craig Upson, David Mohammadi, Roger Weidner, Thomas Carol, Crispin Hernandez, Bill Steinmetz, Carranza Smith, Antares Nicklow
During fiscal year 2020, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Research Facilities, Division of Environmental Protection, in collaboration with a working group from the National Institute of Environmental Sciences, developed an NIH Drain Disposal Guide that informs users about which commonly used laboratory chemicals may be released to the drain. This initiative was established to bring awareness to waste disposal including a complete guide to acceptable sanitary sewer discharges, education on the types of waste streams produced in biotechnology processes, and their appropriate means of disposal, along with accompanying instructions on how to safely discharge to the sanitary sewer.
The new drain disposal policy has a multitude of tools and information in order to assist the waste generator in compiling an accurate conclusion in terms of how their waste must be disposed. The policy outlines over 275 chemicals that are approved for drain disposal along with an eight-step safety protocol that must be followed when performing this action. In addition, the policy provides a decision tree to assist the waste generator with determining the appropriate means of waste disposal along with addressing liquid biohazardous waste, pharmaceutical waste and waste containing nanomaterials.
The intent was not only to provide a clear and concise policy and accompanying tools to assist with proper disposal, but also a means to provide clarity to the decision-making process. This enables the waste generator to understand the nature of the chemicals that make up their wastes and subsequently will result in better waste management. This policy was not only created in conjunction with the NIH environmental specialists, research community, and management, it was vetted through the local wastewater treatment authority for each specific impacted campus/location.
FY2020 Energy and Fleet Management
Small Group: NIH RTP Campus Underground HTHW Piping Thermal Restoration
Bill Blair, Benjamin Hocutt, Lee Howell, Marcos Flores
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Research Facilities at Research Triangle Park (RTP) and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences completed a project to restore the RTP Campus underground high temperature hot water (HTHW) piping insulation. The piping system is integral for the campus buildings’ supply of steam, heating hot water, and domestic and laboratory hot water.
A review was conducted of the high temperature hot water system to determine viable energy saving initiatives. This led to the discovery that the drastic temperature losses in the piping were equivalent to not having any insulation at all. Two options to mitigate the temperature losses were investigated. The first option was a full replacement of the piping with an estimated cost of $30 million. However, for the second option, the RTP Facilities Management Branch team discovered a novel approach to restore the insulation by injecting a three-part expanding foam. This option could be completed for one-third of the cost of full replacement and would also reduce ground water absorption, leading to an increased piping system lifespan.
Analysis of the temperature losses before and after the insulation restoration was performed utilizing the system’s calibrated temperature sensors. The resulting comparison indicated a 50% reduction in thermal losses. This equates to a reduced annual natural gas usage of 300,000 therms by the RTP Central Utility Plant and a decrease in 1,587 metric tons of CO2. The reduction in CO2 is equivalent to 1.75 million pounds of coal burned or 3,675 barrels of oil consumed. Other benefits of the thermal restoration resulted in lower soil temperatures around the buried piping, creating suitable conditions for ground cover to be established and a reduction in soil erosion and runoff.
FY2020 Electronic Stewardship
Small Group: NIH NIEHS Direct Donation Program
Kimberly Jones, Richard Weaver, April Byrd, Kelly Powell
In January 2020, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) team implemented a new Direct Donation Program that has realized positive impacts on the culture of sustainability at the NIEHS and in local North Carolina communities.
Effective lifecycle management is required for the three million dollars’ worth of goods purchased annually to support NIEHS research. The NIEHS Administrative Services and Analysis Branch ensures timely performance assessments to monitor usage, maturity and the potential for efficiency decline for a broad range of products and equipment. Changes in programs, projects and technology create surplus assets that are no longer required in the same capacity, if at all.
When products and equipment are replaced, they may have not met their end-of-life expectancy and may still be operating efficiently. Each year, NIEHS generates more than 2,000 surplus items including monitors, laptops, printers, office furniture and scientific equipment such as centrifuges and shakers.
Under authority of the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act, the NIEHS Direct Donation Program identifies high=value excess research equipment that is then donated to educational institutions and nonprofit organizations to conduct technical and scientific education and research. In the first year of this program, donations valued at more than $250,000 were diverted from landfills and directed to Duke University, North Carolina Central University, and E.E. Smith High School in Fayetteville, NC.
FY2020 Sustainable Acquisitions
Small Group: NIH NIEHS Ultralow Temperature Freezer Replacement Project
Paul Johnson, Brian Harris, Kerri Hartung, Rachel Faison, Michael Spencer, Chris Long, Rachel Scroggins, Tom Sliwa, Kim Jones, Steven Smith
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) campus, located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, replaced 35 existing ultralow temperature (ULT) freezers with new ENERGY STAR certified ULT freezers. The current inventory of more than 400 cold storage units were analyzed to identify older, energy inefficient freezers with an inherent increased risk of scientific sample loss, elevated maintenance costs and increased operating costs.
Thirty-five ULT freezers, between 12 and 24 years old, were replaced and are projected to reduce electricity usage, cost, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 64 percent annually. The new units will annually save 232,896 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity (equivalent to about 20 US households), $12,809 (equivalent to the annual replacement cost of one ULT freezer replacement), and 150 metric tons (MT) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2) (equivalent to 15 trips around the world in an average passenger car). This initiative encourages the proactive annual review and replacement of aging ULT and lab grade freezers.
FY2019 Energy and Fleet Management
Project/Program Team (NIH Freezer Challenge)
Jason Williams, Leesa Deterding-(DIR/ESCBL)
The NIH held its first freezer challenge to reduce energy consumption from laboratory grade freezers within NIH laboratories. The inaugural challenge ran from January 1 to April 1,2019. Laboratories were challenged to adopt one or more initiatives from a set of freezer management techniques: defrost freezers, discard samples, transfer samples to liquid nitrogen freezers, maintain an electronic sample inventory, barcode samples, consolidate samples, share freezer space, retire freezers, change the temperature setting of Ultra- Low Temperature freezers from -80 °C to -70 °C, store samples at appropriate temperatures and to adopt room-temperature sample storage. Eight labs and one biorepository participated in the challenge. Their efforts in this challenge will save the NIH 14,975 kilowatt hours, $12,647, and 48 metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions annually.
FY2019 Energy and Fleet Management
Small Group: NIH NIEHS Rail Building Chilled Water Fan Coil Loop Piping Replacement
James (Victor) Stancil, P.E., Daniel Burk, Kyle Askins, P.E., Brian Harris
The NIH Office of Research Facilities, Research Triangle Park, completed the design and construction of a chilled water fan coil loop piping replacement project in the Rail Building. This project reduced pump energy as a result of clearing flow restrictions in the piping and eliminated the risk for catastrophic failure of corroded 40-year-old steel pipes resulting in building flooding. The project used a phased approach to install the new piping while the existing piping was still in operation. The estimated annual water savings is 119,000 gallons, equivalent to 4,760 ten-minute showers or 901,300 bottles of drinking water.
FY2019 Sustainable Design & Facilities
Small Group: NIH NIEHS Rail Building Public Space Renovations
Alison Karver, Debra Del Corral, Amanda Thompson, Rhonda Carroll
While the Rodbell Conference Center Renovation Project was initiated to resolve life-safety deficiencies, it was also an opportunity to improve the overall flexibility of the Center and to renovate the Rail Building Lobby at NIH's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). The conference facility was enlarged from a 197 to 300-person capacity that can be subdivided into three smaller spaces. These renovations and improvements encourage multi-lateral use of the space, as well as encourage on-site conferences instead of renting and traveling to offsite venues. The open storefront in the Rail Building lobby was enclosed with electrochromic glass that automatically adjusts according to the intensity of the sun, controlling heat load and glare while allowing sunlight in. The Mall Skylight Replacement Project also replaced existing single pane skylights with electrochromic glass. This dramatically improved the comfort and usability of these large central circulation spaces, and reduced heat load and glare. The projects to replace the skylights and the Main Entrance store front resulted in savings of over 40,000 KWH of energy and represent a coordinated sustainable design and renovation effort.
FY2019 Environmental Stewardship
Small Group: NIH NIEHS Vivarium Animal Feed Composting Initiative
Neil Grove, Paul Johnson, Paul Poliachik, Bill Steinmetz, Tim Schilens, Dennis Will, Bill Stutzbach, Debbie Gaffney, Gordon Caviness, Kethard Thomas
The Comparative Medicine Branch at the NIH National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences worked collaboratively to successfully divert approximately 46 tons per year of used, unconsumed animal feed to composting. This reduced carbon emissions by 90,000 pounds and decreased consumption of natural gas by one million cubic feet. The effort also eliminated the use of 3,000 trash bags annually, representing a significant reduction in the use of plastics associated with vivarium operations.
FY2019 Energy and Fleet Management
Small Group: NIH NIEHS All-Electric Vehicles
Tim Schilens, Terry Wells, Heather Davis, Joshua Blow
The Facilities Management Branch at the NIH National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Research Triangle Park Campus in North Carolina reduced the site's carbon footprint by more than 30,000 pounds of carbon emissions, and fuel costs by $25,000 over a five-year period by using three all electric low speed vehicles for the Maintenance and Operations program. The low-speed vehicles meet Department of Transportation safety requirements and are customized to meet the needs of the Maintenance and Operations department. Overall, the addition of a small box truck to carry tools and supplies, and a truck with a liftgate for moving heavy equipment has improved the department's ability to provide high quality service.
FY2018 Water Use Efficiency
NIEHS Vivarium Water Reduction Project
Neil Grove, Debbie Gaffney, Don Jackowski, Lee Howell, Gordon Caviness, Bill Blair, Kathy E. Laber
The NIEHS Comparative Medicine Branch (CMB) team took measures to reduce water use associated with vivarium cage wash operations. Following study and analysis, CMB purchased and installed a new high-efficiency cage and rack washer to support a portion of its cage processing operations. Additionally, CMB has adopted the use of high-efficiency, high-performance cage and husbandry equipment and optimized cage management practices, further reducing water demands. The cage processing operations that are being supported by this new equipment and improved practices are projected to reduce water use by over 80%, saving an estimated 167,000 gallons of water annually.
FY2018 Green Hero Video
The NIEHS Environmental Management System (EMS) Awareness Training Project
Bill Steinmetz, Paul Johnson, Bill Fitzgerald, Ann Thompson, Joe Poccia, Tony Hall, David Christie, John Maruca, Paul Cacioppo
The NIH National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) developed a unique web-based interactive training program to support efforts to reduce environmental impacts, increase awareness of sustainable practices, and promote our campus Environmental Management System (EMS). The training program was produced through a team effort that combined skill sets from the NIEHS EMS Work Group, our on-site arts and photography contractors, along with creative graphics design personnel.
FY2018 Green Labs
The NIH Sustainability Management Team, which includes NIEHS representation, is recognized for developing the NIH Green Labs Program to inform, encourage, and award NIH laboratories for following sustainable lab practices.
Wildlife and Industry Together Certification
Wildlife and Industry Together (WAIT) is a North Carolina Wildlife Federation program that encourages the protection and enhancement of wildlife on industrial or commercial lands. In 2005, NIEHS was the first organization in the Research Triangle Park to become WAIT certified. We remain committed to this important program and continually look for new ways to protect, enhance and support over 300 acres of undeveloped land and the 27-acre Discovery Lake.
Our wildlife enhancements include butterfly gardens as well as nest boxes for multiple bird species including bluebirds, nuthatches, purple martins and wood ducks. Through our efforts, the NIEHS Campus remains a sanctuary for native wildlife including but not limited to deer, beaver, otters, groundhogs, wild turkeys along with various waterfowl, turtles, and amphibians. In addition, over 125 species of birds have been sighted on campus.
FY2017 Sustainable Design & Facilities
NIH NIEHS Net-Zero Energy Warehouse
James Victor Stancil III, Kyle Askins, Greg Holland, Debi Del Corral, Amanda Thompson, Dan Cushing, Mitch Williams, Bill Blair, Daniel Burk, Chris Long
The NIH Office of Research Facilities, Research Triangle Park (RTP) and the National Institute of Environmental Sciences (NIEHS) completed design and construction of the HHS first Net-Zero Energy facility on the NIEHS Campus in RTP, NC. The project was designed to produce more renewable energy annually than it uses.
To accomplish this task, the project used Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) principals to minimize the amount of energy required to operate the facility achieving an 85.46% reduction in the amount of energy used by a comparable facility following minimum ASHRAE 90.1 guidelines. For renewable energy, the project installed a 120 kilo-watt photo-voltaic (solar) array on the roof generating an anticipated average of 158,614 kW-hours of energy annually over the 20-year lifetime of the system. By comparison, the annual anticipated energy consumption is only 157,408 kw-hours.
The facility was substantially complete and occupied in late July 2017. From August to December 2017 the facility has exceeded the Net-Zero Energy goals of the project by producing over 77,500 kw-hours of clean renewable solar energy and using less than 71,500 kw-hours of total energy.
FY2017 Green Hero Video
NIH NIEHS Campus Pollinator Program Team
Bill Willis, Bill Steinmetz, Brian Harris, Paul Poliachik, Paul Johnson, Jeff Taylor, John McLamb
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is a Sustainability Hero for its advanced efforts to promote pollinator habitat. The NIEHS campus, located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, encompasses 375 acres, including woodlands, wetlands, grasslands, and a 27-acre lake. The NIEHS Pollinator Program is comprised of numerous activities and efforts working together to expand pollinator habitat on campus
NIEHS maintains much needed natural habitat by conserving transitional vegetation zones along the forest margins for pollinators and other wildlife and dedicated wildlife meadows as part of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation Butterfly Highway Program. Common Milkweed, a native plant that serves as a crucial survival plant for the Monarch Butterfly, exists naturally on campus but has been successfully cultivated to create a designated Monarch butterfly garden. The Milkweed provides food and habitat and is essential for both the caterpillar and adult stage of the Monarch Butterfly.
Pollinator-friendly sites for cavity nesting bees have been placed in strategic locations on the NIEHS campus. Bee blocks are heavily used by Orchard Mason and Leafcutter bees. The NIEHS also supports pollinator efforts by hosting honeybee hives as part of an EPA citizen-science project, in which scientists are researching the honeybee immune system and local hive health. Additional support of pollinators stems from NIEHS's promotion of native habitat on campus and aggressive control of invasive species.
The NIEHS provides and maintains dozens of nesting areas for other pollinators, such as birds and bats as a part of the Wildlife and Industry Together (WAIT) education program. Through the region-based WAIT program, NIEHS partners with the North Carolina Wildlife Federation to increase awareness of the importance of wildlife to the environment. Education and awareness is also an important part of the NIEHS pollinator program.
FY2017 Environmental Stewardship
NIH Sustainable Warehouse Cleanout Project
Kim Jones, Rick Weaver, April Byrd, Ron Faison
In July and August of 2017, the NIEHS inventory management staff and contractors from two other warehouses were consolidated and relocated to a new warehouse. This complicated move involved clearing out a leased warehouse that had to be returned to the lessor. The cleanout included the recycling of 20,400 pounds of old periodicals, 185,000 pounds of furniture and plastic items, two batteries from an old forklift at 600 pounds, 5,520 pounds of confidential paper, and a 2,500-pound tiger lift. In total approximately 214,020 pounds were diverted from landfill.
FY2017 Change Agents
NIH Changing the Way We Think about Environmentally Sustainable Campus DesignDebi Del Corral, Mitch Williams, Amanda Thompson, Don Jackowski, Victor Stancil, Kyle Hawkins, Allison Karver, Matt Hunt, Greg Holland, Chris Long
One of the core values of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is to preserve and protect the environment. In support of this value, NIEHS supports sustainability efforts through design and construction activities including water and energy conservation and reuse, reduction and recycling efforts that impact the generation of solid waste and the potential release of pollutants into the environment. Pursuit of these ideals has changed the way projects are conceived and executed on the NIEHS Campus. Each project is reviewed for potential environmental impacts and efficiency opportunities as a "new way of thinking." In 2017, NIEHS and the NIH Office of Research Facilities collaborated on several projects that support environmentally responsible sustainability and energy efficiency goals which exemplify the new Campus approach. Significant projects planned or accomplished in 2017 include a Net Zero Energy Warehouse, Central Plant Re-claimed Water, Roadway Asphalt Replacement, and initial design of the future Clinical and Computational Science Building.
FY2016 Good Neighbor Award
NIH NIEHS Climate Resilience Planning Team
Small Group: Jeffery Church, Paul Johnson, Bill Steinmetz, Mitch Williams
In FY 2016, the NIH National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) conducted organizational climate resilience planning to help meet the challenges of severe weather events and changes in overall climate. The team worked collaboratively to identify vulnerabilities, determine impacts and stakeholders, and develop resilience measures. The effort required extraordinary teamwork and consensus building to prioritize, score, and rank vulnerabilities and resilience measures. The effort supports Executive Order 13653 requiring facilities to develop plans that integrate weather and climate considerations into agency operations.
FY2016 Environmental Stewardship Award
NIH NIEHS Preparing the Next Generation of Environmentalists
Small Group: Paul Johnson, Ed Kang, Elizabeth Lake, Claire Long, John McLamb, Parker Sims, William Steinmetz, Cheryl Thompson, Bill Willis
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ (NIEHS) mission is to discover how the environment affects people in order to promote healthier lives. Colloquially, the ‘environment’ is our middle name, and this guiding principle extends beyond our walls to the community and beyond. At NIEHS, environmental stewardship comes to life in our efforts to inspire young children –to help them develop into future champions of the environment. From the operation of our nationally recognized childcare center to our many educational outreach efforts, the Institute has transformed the lives of thousands of children in our own backyard and around the world. Our hope is that these children will grow to be the future stewards of our planet, instilled with the lessons of conservation and sustainability that are so important. A team of NIEHS employees and contractors has led efforts to build awareness and enhance outreach to affect an age-diverse audience in meaningful ways. These efforts go far beyond their normal job-related duties. Hopefully, by sharing these achievements vis-a-vis the HHS Green Champions recognition, others may also be inspired to reach out to young people in their communities to instill an appreciation for the connection between the environment and our health.
FY2015 Energy and Fleet Award
LED Lighting and PV Array
Small Group: John Barbee, Kyle Hawkins, Alison Karver, Shawn O'Neal, Joseph A. Shealey, Victor Stancil, Brian Vannatten
The NIH Office of Research Facilities Management Branch accomplished energy savings through the installation of a 60 KW PV array and the conversion of all exterior roadway and walkway lighting from metal halide to LED on the NIEHS campus. The project will save approximately 300,000 kWh and $18,000 annually. Diligent waste management during the project resulted in the recycling of 300 tons of construction debris.
FY2015 Environmental Stewardship Award
Burdens Creek Site Cleanup
Small Group: Debra Del Corral, Clyde Hasty, Christopher Hunt, Chris Long, Scott Merkle, Joseph Shealey, Valeria Shropshire, Bill Steinmetz
The Burden's Creek site was originally equipped with 12 manufactured buildings and a paved parking area for temporary use by NIEHS during construction of the NIEHS facilities in the late 1970s. Use of the site was discontinued, and the buildings fell into disrepair. Due to the cleanup team's diligence, 65 tons of metal, 120 tons of concrete, 200 tons of miscellaneous construction and demolition debris, 720 fluorescent light bulbs, 12 thermostats and 12 smoke detectors were recycled, and 63 pounds of Freon were recaptured, significantly reducing landfill waste and removing toxins in the environment.
FY2014 Honorable Mention Environmental Stewardship Award
NIEHS Site Ecology Team
Small Group: Bill Steinmetz, Bill Willis, Scott Capouch, Gordon Caviness, Brian Harris, Steve Herndon, Chris Hunt, Versal Mason, John McLamb, Paul Poliachik, David Sawyer, Mitch Williams and Terri Stubblefield
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) initiated a number of innovative strategies that address ecological threats posed by invasive species. Along with counterparts at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), NIEHS created the Site Ecology Team (SET), a group that develops methods for protecting the 509-acre campus in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, which both agencies share. The SET protects the campus ecosystem against invasive species by monitoring lake nutrient levels, maintaining proper fish populations, improving campus wildlife habitat, and developing usage policy for the campus lake and trails. It has implemented an action plan to manage and protect native ash trees from the invasive beetle, the Emerald Ash Borer. The group has also identified and inventoried approximately 200 invasive plants and classified them by threat level. This list now serves as a monitoring tool for preventing the introduction and spread of invasive plants on campus. The SET educated NIEHS employees about invasive species through a highly successful three-part awareness series published in the institute's internal newsletter, by hosting seminars with expert speakers, and developing permanent displays. We believe these practices may serve as models for other Operating Divisions (OPDIVs) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
FY2014 Corporate Responsibility Award
NIEHS Transhare & Telework Program
Individual: Jenn Evans
The NIEHS Office of Management combined innovation and resourcefulness to create successful alternative commuting through the NIEHS Transhare & Telework Program. The program utilized creative ways to overcome alternative commuting challenges of being located in a strategic, yet remote research park in North Carolina. The NIEHS has been able to help mitigate traffic congestion and reduce auto emissions that result in greenhouse gases by offering NIEHS employees effective alternative commuting methods such as the use of regional busing, vanpool programs, carpool programs, teleworking, and bike to work programs. Transhare also supports those who bike to work by partnering with RTP area organizations that sponsor Bike to Work activities and assistance. In 2014, NIEHS had a telework participation rate among the Institute's federal workforce of over 50%. The NIEHS reduced miles driven by employees in 2014 by an estimated 871,782, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 300 metric tons and supporting agency goa Is of Executive Order 13514 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In recognition of the Institute's innovative alternative transportation program, the Triangle J Council of Governments awarded NIEHS the "2014 Best Workplace for Commuters".
FY2013 Sustainable Design and Facilities Award
NIH, Green and Fit Retrofit at NIEHS
Small Group: Debra Del Corral, Joseph Seufert, Amanda Thompson
A major renovation at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) combined sustainable design with improved employee fitness and health. NIEHS converted underutilized library space to house state-of-the art bioinformatics workspace, high-tech scientific training facilities, work-life resources, and an employee fitness center. Throughout the project, building materials were reused, furnishings were refurbished and reinstalled, metals materials were recovered and recycled, healthy paints, adhesives and finishes were applied, energy-efficient lighting and heating/cooling systems were installed, and water conserving fixtures were built in. Overall construction costs were cut by 30-40% by eliminating multiple project phases. Other efficiencies saved at least $160,000. The project improved space utilization by eliminating passageways and optimizing layouts. The Institute improved its ability to meet its emerging scientific mission in bioinformatics and scientific training, and saved hundreds of thousands of dollars. At the same time, NIEHS kept tons of material out of landfills, installed healthy and efficient materials and engineering systems, and promoted employee fitness and quality of life.
FY2013 Good Neighbor Award
Climate Resilience Planning
Individual: Dr. John Balbus
Dr. Balbus developed and initiated one of HHS's signature initiatives in the President's Climate Action Plan, which was released in June 201B. Dr. Balbus is a pioneer in promoting awareness of the health implications of climate change and has worked over the past several years to incorporate climate resilience and sustainability into the HHS mission the Department's activities. In developing the Sustainable and Climate Resilient Healthcare Facilities Initiative, Dr. Balbus identified an urgent need for hospitals and other health care facilities to prepare for and adapt to global climate change. Dr. Balbus worked closely with the Executive Office of the President and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health to build support for the initiative and is now collaborating with other components of HHS to bring the project to fruition. In September of 2013, Dr. Balbus was appointed to direct the activities of the new WHO Collaborating Center for Environmental Health Sciences.
FY2011 Good Neighbor Award
HHS Region VIII- Environmental Justice Stakeholder Engagement Sessions
Small Group: Sharon Beard, Chip Hughes, Liam O'Fallon
In February 2012 the Secretary released the HHS Environmental Justice Strategy and Implementation Plan providing clear direction of goals, strategies and actions to address environmental justice in minority and low-income populations and Indian tribes. In order to develop the EJ plan, HHS along with the Federal EJ Working Group (EJFWG) embarked on a series of 20 regional meetings to encourage stakeholders to engage in a dialogue about environmental justice concerns, and to help inform HHS and Federal agency environmental justice initiatives. More than 3,000 stakeholders participated in the meetings and contributed to the dialogue. This nomination for Good Neighbor award recognizes the key HHS team members involved in the extensive community engagement effort between November 2010 and November 2011. These efforts are further detailed in the narrative below and an even more complete summary of efforts, including a list of all meetings is documented in the HHS Environmental Justice Implementation Progress Report. Additionally, in order to compliment outreach efforts, assess the extent of HHS involvement in EJ issues and to better inform the public of this involvement, HHS conducted a data call across all HHS agencies and cataloged more than 70 different programs, EJ initiatives and activities.
FY2010 Environmental Stewardship Award
Waste Diversion through Composting
The NIEHS composted 15,790 pounds of pre-and post-consumer cafeteria waste in FY 2010 compared to 4,800 pounds in FY 2009. This surpasses the 2010 EMS goal of 10,000 pounds and helps to meet Executive Order 13514 waste diversion requirements. Compost from the off-site facility is returned to the Campus for use as mulch around trees and in shrubbery beds.
FY2009 Energy and Water Award
(NIH Facilities Management Branch - NIEHS)
Awarded for conservation initiatives and energy saving performance contracts
FY2009 Organization Award
NIEHS - A Pioneer in Sustainability and Green Government
Awarded for demonstrating a commitment to environmental stewardship through publication of the first NIEHS Sustainability Report.