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Posts tagged: LEED

Oregon School Children, USDA “Energize” Earth Day

At the USDA Earth Day outdoor classroom in Boardman, Oregon, last month,  USDA program technician Renee Robinson tests the children on what they’ve learned about saving energy at home. USDA photo.

At the USDA Earth Day outdoor classroom in Boardman, Oregon, last month, USDA program technician Renee Robinson tests the children on what they’ve learned about saving energy at home. USDA photo.

Last month, USDA Rural Development employees and several partner organizations donated their Saturday to celebrate Earth Day with elementary and middle school-aged children at the Castle Rock farm worker housing complex in Boardman, Oregon.

Volunteers from Energy Trust of Oregon, CASA of Oregon, Sustainable Agriculture and Energy (SAGE) Center, Wind Turbine Industries Corporation, and Kardon Construction joined USDA to lead a variety of interactive educational activities about energy conservation and renewable energy alternatives. Read more »

Bridgewater College Dedicates New “Green” Student Housing

On a beautiful summer morning, more than 200 Bridgewater faculty, staff, students and local residents celebrated the completion of a $14 million dollar student housing project on the rural campus of Bridgewater College.

The new “Stone Village” as named by the college for its past President, Mr. Phillip Stone, will be a complex of five, two-story, colonial-designed housing that will be on the cutting edge of energy efficiency and minimize its environmental impact on the rural campus. The housing is registered as a potential Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver project and incorporates such green features as high efficiency HVAC, occupancy sensor lighting, recycled building materials and even the interior paints that were used were all environmentally friendly to improve indoor air quality. Read more »

Penobscot Nation Family Benefits from a Gold Certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Home

 

Submitted by USDA Rural Development Maine State Director Virginia Manuel with assistance from Beverly StoneUSDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel congratulated Jason and Jessica Sockbeson on their new home during an open house in Indian Island, Maine to celebrate National Homeownership Month.  Funding was provided by Rural Development through the Direct Home Loan program; The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Penobscot Nation provided subsidies to reduce the cost of the home.

The home is a LEED Gold Certified energy efficient home promoting energy conservation and affordability.  This is the first home financed on the Penobscot Nation reservation through Rural Development’s One Stop Mortgage documents.  “This represents a landmark event for Rural Development and the Penobscot Nation because funding is now available for those within this community to construct new homes,” Manuel said.  “This program provides affordable housing opportunities for families and allows them to remain in their community and close to their family and culture.”

LEED certification is the recognized standard for measuring building sustainability.  This certification is the best way to demonstrate that your building is truly “green.”  The rating system has various levels for new construction.  Platinum is the highest and Gold is the next to highest certification offered through this process.

Rural Development, the Penobscot Nation, other partners, and the homeowners are especially pleased to have been able to achieve this level of construction for better energy savings and to reduce their carbon footprint.

The Sockbesons are thrilled to have a home of this caliber for less than they were previously paying in rent.  Manuel said, “We are delighted that Chief Kirk Francis of the Penobscot Nation, representatives from the entire Maine Congressional Delegation staffs and the local lender were present to help us celebrate this event with the Sockbeson family.” 

From left to right:  Jaxson, 2; Jaedan, 6; Jason and his wife, Jessica holding Jillian, 3 months.
From left to right:  Jaxson, 2; Jaedan, 6; Jason and his wife, Jessica holding Jillian, 3 months

Merrigan Meets Joins Leaders for Clean Energy Economy Forum

Earlier this week I participated in an Obama Administration Clean Energy Economy Forum in Arlington, Virginia with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Assistant Secretary of Energy for Energy Efficiency and Renewables Cathy Zoi, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, U.S. Representative Gerry Connolly, and former U.S. Senator John Warner. Read more »

USDA Team Receives A Presidential Award for Leadership in Federal Energy Management

As you walk through the facilities at headquarters in Washington and in the field, it quickly becomes apparent that a new attitude has taken hold at USDA: A drive to use energy more efficiently.  These efforts were noted by President Obama and the White House Council on Environmental Quality recently when USDA was chosen as one of six departments (and seven teams) in the Government to receive a Presidential Award for Leadership in Federal Energy Management.  USDA won the award for reducing energy and water use through tools including energy savings performance contracts, utility service contracts, green power purchase agreements, internal agency scorecards, renewable energy projects and sustainable buildings.

USDA Director of Operations John Crew holds the Presidential Energy Award“It is an honor for USDA to be recognized,” said John Crew, USDA Director of Operations. “We have ‘Green Teams’ here that are both formal and informal.  The main message is ‘sustainability’, and increasing efficiency. We measure our energy use now, and what gets measured gets managed.  One of the initiatives we pursued was ‘USDA Unplugged’ which asked our employees over a long weekend to unplug equipment that otherwise would have been an energy drain.  Not only was it successful, it encouraged employees to re-think the way they use energy in their homes as well.”

Crew noted that USDA is encouraging a combination of long and short term actions, big and small, that together add up to substantial daily savings.  “For example, we found that a four inch steam line was operated all summer solely so that soup would be heated in the kitchen.  That’s an expensive heat source for soup.  We found a much more energy efficient way to get the job done and deactivated the line, saving $200,000 a year.”  Additionally, significant projects such as the renovation of one of the South Building wings in Washington, D.C., will use new technology and be “LEED Certified” saving energy for decades to come.

Crew stressed that the award isn’t just for the green team, it is department-wide and was received through the efforts of all 100,000 USDA employees across America.  “USDA is the second largest landholder in the Federal Government. We occupy about 89 million square feet of space in over 23,000 buildings spread over 193 million acres of land.  In addition, we have 40,000 motor vehicles and buy over $4 billion in goods and services annually.  Small individual actions, combined with overall policy decisions that promote energy savings, really add up.”

For more information about the award, visit the White House Website.

- Wayne Maloney, Office of Communications