Celebrating Sammie Winner Jacob Moss

Gina McCarthy Gina McCarthy

By Administrator Gina McCarthy

I’m thrilled to announce that our EPA colleague Jacob Moss is the winner of one of this year’s prestigious Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals, also known as the “Sammie” award. Sammies are awarded each year by the Partnership for Public Service to a small number of federal employees with impressive accomplishments. They’re a big deal, and while EPA has had fantastic nominees in the recent past, Jacob is EPA’s first winner in several years.

Jacob truly exemplifies the spirit of this Environment and Science Medal for his work spearheading a global initiative that seeks to eliminate the threat of toxic smoke from indoor cookstoves, one of the deadliest threats facing billions of people across the developing world. According to the World Health Organization, exposure to smoke from cooking fires is the developing world’s fourth worst health risk, responsible for an estimated 4.3 million premature deaths every year.

In 2010, Jacob was a driving force behind the development of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, a partnership led by the United Nations Foundation with 10 U.S. federal agencies and more than 1,300 partners across the globe. He has since coordinated U.S. government efforts under the Alliance, leading the development of an initial 5-year, $50 million commitment which has since grown to over $114 million. Under Jacob’s leadership, the United States announced last November additional anticipated support that could bring this investment up to $325 million by 2020.

In total, the partners in the Alliance have committed to investments of more than $500 million (beyond the U.S. investments) to meet a goal of improving 500 million lives in 100 million households by 2020. By reaching this 2020 goal, the Alliance estimates that this work will save 640,000 lives, create 2.1 million jobs, and offset 1.6 billion metric tons of CO2-equivalent. The Alliance’s partners are on target to meet this 2020 goal, and they have already reached 28 million homes with cleaner and more efficient cooking solutions.

Jacob’s first introduction to the environmental challenges associated with cookstoves came when he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo, West Africa in the late 1980s. He began his work on cookstoves at EPA in 2002 when he helped launch an international partnership to address this pollution. By 2007, through EPA’s Partnership for Clean Indoor Air, EPA efforts were helping hundreds of thousands of people. In 2010 the Global Alliance was formed.

Jacob’s work is an example of many years of dedication, resourcefulness, and tenacity that we can all be inspired by and proud of. The work being honored by this Sammie Medal not only serves this country, but countries and people around the world. This is work that saves lives. Congratulations on your achievement, Jacob, and from all of us at EPA, thank you for all you do.

ABOUT JACOB

Jacob grew up in Houston, Texas, went to college at Ithaca in New York state and then joined the Peace Corps in Togo, West Africa.  Jacob started at EPA as a Senior Policy Analyst in 1999.  He lives in Washington, D.C. and likes to spend time with his daughter, play tennis, and travel. Jacob has additional experience with GE Capital Corporation, Clean Water Action, the Peace Corps, and IBM.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from Cornell University and a Master of Public Policy degree from Princeton University.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

The ENERGY STAR Awards

ENERGY STAR Awards

Award Recipient Evergreen Public Schools with EPA's Director of the Climate Protection Partnership Division, Elizabeth Craig

By: Brittney Gordon

From the moment I came to EPA’s ENERGY STAR program, I could tell that the annual announcement of the ENERGY STAR Awards was a BIG deal. Every year EPA honors organizations that have made outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through energy efficiency. ENERGY STAR’s partners in industry work hard all year long to educate consumers about making energy-efficient purchases and decisions, and hundreds of them submit applications to receive a coveted ENERGY STAR award. This year I was chosen to coordinate the ENERGY STAR awards, and after months of reviewing applications and debating their merits, I have definitely learned a few things along the way.

1.)    ENERGY STAR partners are truly leading the way in the energy-efficiency movement. Across the country, ENERGY STAR has over 18,000 partners, and this year 119 won an ENERGY STAR award for their efforts in protecting the environment. I work with ENERGY STAR partners every day in my normal capacity, but coordinating the ENERGY STAR awards showed me a totally different side to the work they do. ENERGY STAR may be a government program, but it would not be successful without the daily work put in by partners across the nation. From new home builders and home energy raters to commercial building owners and product manufacturers, our partners are leading the way in helping Americans to protect the climate by becoming more energy efficient. They have invested their time and their resources to put energy efficiency near the top of their priority list, and American consumers—and our environment—are the beneficiaries. After reading about the work done by these organizations, I will look at my next purchase in a totally different way, as I now understand just how much effort it takes for them to help all of us become more energy efficient. This year’s recipient list reads like a “who’s-who” of the business world, and included names like The Home Depot, Hanesbrands, Colgate-Palmolive Company, Food Lion, USAA Real Estate, Samsung, and Toyota.

2.)    The ENERGY STAR Awards are REALLY important to businesses across the country. From the moment I took on coordinating the ENERGY STAR awards, it became clear that EPA’s partners hold them in high regard. These organizations put in a lot of effort to make this country more efficient, and they look at these awards as acknowledgement for a job well done. As EPA staff members reached out to partners with the good news of their award, you could literally feel their excitement over the phone. Within days those partners began producing press releases and marketing campaigns to tell the world about this honor. With 85 percent of Americans recognizing the ENERGY STAR label, they know just how powerful that little blue label is, and they want consumers to know that they are being recognized as one of the best-of-the-best when it comes to energy efficiency and protecting the environment. Perhaps even more importantly, winning the award also helps them with internal acknowledgment for their work and can result in greater support for sustainability efforts.

3.)    The announcement of the ENERGY STAR Awards is important in the movement to better protect the environment from climate change. Just as I learned that winning an ENERGY STAR award can put a company on cloud nine, I also learned that not winning can inspire other partners to work even harder to help Americans save energy. EPA received hundreds of applications this year and of course, they did not all get selected. But the first thing non-winners do is reach out to EPA to find out what they need to do to become a more powerful contender in 2014. These awards prove to be an incentive for protecting the environment year after year—and that is something to celebrate.

Brittney Gordon is a member of the ENERGY STAR communication’s team and this year served as the ENERGY STAR awards coordinator. For a complete listing of winners, click here.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Federal Agencies Leading by Example – The Federal Green Challenge

By Lana Suárez

When I joined the Federal Green Challenge team in October 2011, I had no idea what I was getting in to but quickly realized this dynamic group of regional staff was out to make a difference in the way the government does business. At first it seemed like a daunting task – how can we “green” the federal government when I can’t even get my coworkers to compost and recycle correctly?

Size makes it even more daunting– together, federal agencies have a big geographic and environmental footprint. The EPA alone has over 17,000 employees. So, how do we start to make a dent in this?

We start with a group of hard-working staff reaching out to federal agencies striving to make a change in our environmental impact. Then we find champions – dedicated human beings willing to go beyond their daily duties by: making sure employees double-side print jobs, power electronics down over the weekend, understanding teleworking is a transportation alternative. These are just a few innovative examples of creative solutions the federal government is using to “walk the talk.”

Many projects and initiatives throughout the country at federal facilities have been extremely innovative. Who knew that changing your facility cleaning routine – like switching a cotton loop mop for a microfiber version – could make such a huge impact on water and product usage?!?! Some facilities went to great lengths to investigate technological solutions to install solar farms on government property, subject to certain restrictions, to sell electrical power back to the grid. Others overcame major roadblocks (e.g., cost and culture) to upgrade and retrofit existing infrastructure.

These may seem like uncomplicated, quick decisions anyone could make to save a buck, but as federal employees know – these decisions can take time… lots of time… hours of meetings, and draft proposals and analyses and management approval, so any change is a major accomplishment! We know small changes add up to big results – helping the triple bottom line – social, financial and environmental benefits.

Folks with these ideas are our Federal Green Challenge champions – and we are happy to recognize them and share their stories of leading by example.

I am so proud to be a part of a team that can see these successes and even prouder to recognize all the hard work that has been going on to save money, improve people’s live and protect the planet.

About the author: Lana Suárez started with EPA in 2004 and currently works in the Office of Resource Conservation & Recovery. She started in this office because “waste is her passion.” Prior to joining EPA, she was an environmental educator in Nicaragua. She has a B.S. in Environmental Policy and Behavior from the University of Michigan.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Help Us Find the Winners! National Award for Smart Growth Achievement

2012 Winner for Overall Excellence in Smart Growth: The BLVD Transformation, Lancaster, CA Photo courtesy of EPA

By Sarah Dale

Do you know a community that has made its downtown more walkable, bikable, and accessible to public transit? Used policy initiatives and regulations to improve the local environment? Turned its public parks into a driver for economic development? Then you might know a community that could apply for the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement. If so, please pass this blog post along!

Communities across the country are making choices about how to grow and develop while improving environmentally, socially, and economically. Through this award, EPA recognizes and supports communities that use innovative policies and strategies to strengthen their economies, provide housing and transportation choices, develop in ways that bring benefits to a wide range of residents, and protect the environment. This year, EPA is

2012 Winner for Equitable Development: The Mariposa District, Denver, CO Photo courtesy of EPA.

recognizing communities in four categories:

  • Built Projects
  • Corridor and Neighborhood Revitalization
  • Plazas, Parks, and Public Places
  • Policies, Programs, and Plans

Additionally, the review panel will choose one Overall Excellence winner.

Past winners are enthusiastic about the award: here’s what a few of the 2012 winners had to say:

  • “We’ve received an outstanding response from winning this award, and our project has received attention from throughout the state, across the nation, and even internationally.” Marvin Crist, Vice Mayor, Lancaster, CA
  • “Receiving the award increased awareness about what the Denver Housing Authority is doing among many different policy makers and stakeholders.” Kimball Crangle, Denver Housing Authority, Denver, CO
  • “I think the Smart Growth Award is a part of what solidified our position to the point where partners decided they wanted to be a part of this.” Scott Strawbridge, Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale, FL

2012 Winner for Programs and Policies 2012: Destination Portsmouth, Portsmouth, VA Rendering courtesy of Urban Advantage.

If you know a community that is doing amazing things, encourage them to apply today! The competition is open to both public- and private-sector entities that have successfully used smart growth principles to improve communities. The application process is outlined here; the application deadline is April 12, 2013.

About the author: Sarah Dale is a special assistant with the Office of Sustainable Communities, which manages EPA’s Smart Growth Program. This is her third year managing the awards.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Deadline approaching!

Don’t forget to apply for the U.S. EPA’s President’s Environmental Youth Award by December 31, 2012. This program honors environmental projects from students in grades K-12 who have worked to promote environmental awareness. Winning projects have included community recycling movements and environmental awareness campaigns. 

Is your project innovative and does it have long-term environmental benefits on the local community?  Tell us about the creative way you have helped protect the environment and visit http://www.epa.gov/peya to apply by December 31, 2012.  

Shelby Egan is a student volunteer in the EPA’s Air and Radiation Division in Region 5, and is currently obtaining her Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  She has a passion for protecting natural resources, cities she’s never been to and cooking any recipe by The Pioneer Woman.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Get Recognized!

While you may already be helping to protect the environment through a class project, an after school club or by group activities such as community gardening or carpooling, why not get recognized for your contribution?

Apply for the President’s Environmental Youth Award by December 31, 2012.

The President’s Environmental Youth Award Program honors environmental projects from students in grades K-12 who have worked to promote environmental awareness.  This could mean anything from using cleaner, renewable energy sources to collecting rainwater for plants in your neighborhood.   Previous winners created a Radon Awareness Project, in which they learned that kids, no matter how young, can positively impact environment.  Visit http://www.epa.gov/peya/  and apply!

Shelby Egan is a student volunteer in the EPA’s Air and Radiation Division in Region 5, and is currently obtaining her Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  She has a passion for protecting natural resources, cities she’s never been to and cooking any recipe by The Pioneer Woman.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

PEYA Summit Blog

studentsWe were thrilled to receive an invitation to the White House Summit on Environmental Education on April 16, 2012 to receive the President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA). This award was created to recognize the outstanding work of young people in their environmental community. We were the winners in Region 8 which consists of CO, ND, SD, WY, MT, and UT.

We came from Colorado and our project was spreading the word in our state about radon and how it can cause lung cancer. It is easy to test for radon in your home with a simple test kit. We spoke to city councils, at community events, and at our State Capitol on the dangers of Radon. We presented at the National Radon Conference and International Radon Symposium in Florida.

The Summit experience was enlightening. It was held in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White. We were excited to hear speeches by the Honorable Lisa Jackson, the  Administrator of the EPA, and Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. We had a roundtable discussion where we shared our projects with the winners from other regions.  We came home inspired by their ideas.

We encourage other kids in the US to pursue environmental projects to make us safer, to conserve resources, and to make our world a healthier place to live in. Many environmental issues affect our health and that’s important to us as kids. Getting involved in your community is one of the best things you can contribute.

Eric and Christina Bear from Golden, Colorado were a 2011 President’s Environmental Youth Award winner.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

What insect-eating machine comes out at night?

batWhat are big and black and come out at night?  If you guessed bats you are correct! Ainsley Campbell of Texas knows a lot about bats and even more about building bat houses. She got interested because she was concerned about the large amount of insects in her city’s parks. She learned by giving bats a place to live they are more likely to stay in the area and help control pests in a sustainable way.  Ainsley placed 11 bat boxes throughout a local park near bodies of water.  Building bat boxes may seem like a small project but they will affect the parks for years to come.

In addition to using the project for her Girl Scout Gold Award,  Ainsley was a President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) winner.  As part of PEYA, she was recognized by Lisa Jackson, EPA Administrator, during the White House Summit on Environmental Education.

Ainsley plans to pursue either environmental engineering or environmental science at University of Pennsylvania Wharton School in the fall. Who knows, she might end up working at EPA one day!

Megan Gavin is the Environmental Education Coordinator for EPA Region 5 in Chicago, Illinois.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Fuel to the Future

University of California Riverside students have developed clean, renewable grid-independent energy for 1.6 billion people currently without the convenience of electricity as part of EPA’s P3 – People, Prosperity, and the Planet—Program, a competition for designing solutions for a sustainable future.

Through P3, they are getting quality hands-on experience that brings their classroom learning to life and may lead to real world applications.   The UCR students have created a model that produces efficient, affordable, and sustainable energy.  The bonus…..it releases zero emissions!

Want to learn about how their project works?  Go to EPA’s YouTube Channel at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDtHCKCqoS8&feature=relmfu

Interested in the P3 program in your future?  Go to http://www.epa.gov/p3/

Yvonne Gonzalez is a SCEP intern with the Air and Radiation Division in Region 5. She is currently pursuing a dual graduate degree at DePaul University.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Congrats to the Green Ribbon School Winners!

President Obama announced the winners this week.  78 schools in 29 states won the Green Ribbon School Award.  Green Ribbon Schools not only green the school environments through energy efficient lighting, recycling, school gardens and composting…they also educate the students about how to be green.  Check out the winners here and see who won in your state:  http://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/2012-schools.doc

Find out more about how to green your school scene!

http://www.epa.gov/epahome/school.htm

Wendy Dew is the Environmental Education and Outreach Coordinator for Region 8 in Denver, Colorado

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.