MOAB, Utah – EM’s Moab Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Project in Utah was one of three GreenBuy Award recipients for fiscal year 2013. DOE’s Office of Sustainability Support awarded the Moab Project the highest level — the Gold Award — for achieving nine goals in five categories.
Federal policy requires DOE and its contractors to purchase environmentally friendly products that are energy and water efficient, promote the use of nontoxic or less toxic substances, implement conservation techniques and reuse materials rather than put them into the waste stream.
Under the GreenBuy Program, DOE sites can obtain recognition for implementing purchasing programs that obtain sustainable products, save energy, conserve water and reduce health and environmental impact. The program is based on DOE’s Priority Products List, which identifies a set of products with leadership-level sustainability attributes that the Department established to help incentivize sustainable acquisition efforts.
To be considered for GreenBuy Awards, DOE sites voluntarily document their achievements in meeting Priority Product goals. To qualify for the Gold level, a site must purchase at least nine key products covering at least five product categories. Of the nine products, three must be ENERGY STAR products on the Priority Products List or meet Federal Energy Management Program energy efficiency requirements.
The awards become progressively more challenging over time, encouraging sites to expand their sustainable acquisition programs. For future recognition, Silver Award recipients — the Moab project was one in fiscal year 2011 — need to achieve Gold level status. Sites cannot be recognized for the same award level two years in a row, except for Gold, which the Moab project received for the first time in fiscal year 2012.
“Headquarters keeps raising the bar for these awards, so we feel a huge sense of accomplishment for having succeeded again this year, especially considering that we’re a small site,” said Polly Robinson, contractor sustainability coordinator for the Moab project. “Hopefully, it won’t be the last time, but only two other DOE organizations, both national laboratories, were 2013 recipients.” National Renewable Energy Laboratory was a Gold Award recipient, and Argonne National Laboratory won a Bronze Award.
The preferred procurement process favors the acquisition of environmentally preferable products and services. This may entail purchasing materials with recycled content or materials or services that have a less adverse or even beneficial effect on the environment. The project routinely adds language to contracts that specifies a preference for the use of recycled or otherwise recovered materials and removes language that prohibits the use of such materials.
The Moab Project Green Team, led by the sustainability coordinator, consists of contractor representatives in the areas of environmental compliance, information technology and procurement. The team meets quarterly to review sustainable acquisitions for performance against annual goals and measures.