Affairs (VA) Green Management Program with the 2012 Sustainability Achievement Award for developing a campus-wide storm water management system including a wetland eco-system that doubles as the Veterans Nature Viewing Area/Trails.
This is the third year in a row that the Martinsburg VAMC has been recognized with a sustainability award. “Being environmentally responsible is ingrained in every project we do on the Martinsburg Campus,” said Jeff Miller, chief of facilities management. “It is good for the environment and makes perfect business sense.”
The Storm Water Management Plan is designed to reduce the discharge of surface pollutants as required in the Clean Water Act, and includes bio-retention cells, rain gardens, pervious pavements, rain water collection cisterns, green roofs, tree planting and urban forestry, and turf that reduces the use of fertilizer’s and maximizes filtration. “The medical center has partnered with the West Virginia Department of Forestry and other local organizations to host planting workshops, improve vegetation selection, and care for injured wildlife,’ Miller said. “The results are that more than 20 million gallons of storm water have been kept from the Opequon Creek watershed which has significantly reduced occurrences of local flash flooding.”
The VA’s Sustainability Achievement Awards recognize innovative, cost-effective efforts at facilities around the country to improve sustainability performance in several categories, including energy efficiency, green purchasing, environmental management systems, sustainable design, electronic stewardship, alternative fuel/fuel conservation in transportation, water conservation, waste minimization/pollution prevention, recycling and renewable energy.
The Martinsburg VAMC was recognized in 2011 for designing a solar electric vehicle charging station that is totally independent of the electrical power grid. One of the first of its kind, the charging station features battery banks and an 8 Kilowatt solar collector that can be adjusted seasonally for maximum energy harvest. The expandable structure also provides shelter for the vehicles, and can reliably charge up to eight of the medical centers maintenance fleet vehicles. “On any given day you can see our fleet of electric vehicles at work on the campus,” Miller said. “Using them has eliminated 12,000 pounds of greenhouse gas discharge into the atmosphere per year.”
In 2010, the first year the Sustainability Awards were presented, Martinsburg VAMC, Nutrition and Food Service was recognized for their “Waste Watchers” program in the waste minimization/pollution prevention category. The program is based on the EPA’s Food Waste Hierarchy, which has an end result of reducing food waste that saves money, and decreased the amount of food that ends up in landfills, creating methane gas and validating the importance of food waste management to the environment. Before this program was launched, approximately 1,521 pounds of solid food waste was created per week. Now, it is down to less than 300 pounds with an 80 percent reduction.
For more information about the VA Green Awards and Recognition go on the web at http://www.green.va.gov/awards/
For information about the Martinsburg VA Medical Center go on the web at http://www.martinsburg.va.gov/