NIH Environmental Excellence - Success Stories and Awards

NIH's excellence in environmental stewardship continues to be recognized by many organizations including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the State of Maryland, and the White House. Here are just a few of the NIH's recent environmental successes and awards.

2011 Awards and Success Stories

NIH Waste Wise Success Story
The NIH was featured as an EPA Waste Wise Program success story on their website. WasteWise is a program that promotes the prevention and recycling of municipal solid waste and select industrial materials. It was launched in 1994 and now has more than 2700 members. Our recycling and solid waste data is entered on a yearly basis and this past year we were recognized as a success story on their website. The article highlights our construction debris recycling program and outreach.
NIH Lights Out Campaign
During 2010 and 2011, NIH handed out approximately 15,000 sticker light plate covers to remind employees to turn the lights out when they leave an area. The ORS Green Team designed the stickers and all 27 IC Green Teams were instrumental in distributing the stickers throughout NIH locations both on and off campus.
Bluebirds Rebound on Campus, Bats Not So Much: NIH Record, September 2011
Green Outreach at the NIH Research Festival October 2011
The NEMS Sustainable Labs Working Group and the NIH Division of Environmental Protection (DEP) hosted a table at the NIH Research Festival in the Special Exhibitors Section. Outreach included talking one-on-one with researchers on greening, poster with information on green practices for the laboratories, and informational handouts.
NIH Green Lab Mini Fairs
The NEMS Sustainable Labs Working Group and the NIH Division of Environmental Protection (DEP) hosted four fairs in August and September of FY2011 in buildings 10, 40, 50, and 5 Research Ct.
Each fair consisted of:
• A vendor show to highlight equipment and other products that can green your lab and even save money.
• Panel presentations on greening efforts on campus and an opportunity for the audience to ask questions or share their green lab ideas with others.
• Speakers on IC Green Team initiatives, lab greening opportunities, solvent recycling, green innovation and laboratory recycling.
Progress Evident in PNRC II Construction NIH Record, August 2011
Join ‘Power IT Down Day,’ Aug. 26: NIH Record, August 2011
Green Labs Fair Schedule Set: NIH Record, August 2011
NIH Celebrates Earth Day/Take Your Child To Work Day in Record Numbers NIH Record, May 2011
NIH celebrated Earth Day by hosting a series of Earth Week Events, culminating with a large Earth Day event held on Thursday, April 22, 2009 in conjunction with “Take your Child to Work” day.
Hundreds of NIH Cyclists Enjoy 2011 Bike To Work Day: NIH Record, April 2011
EPA Lauds NIH Energy Conservation Efforts: NIH Record, March 2011
Earth Day 2011 May Bring ‘Them’ to NIH NIH Record, February 2011
Stormwater Management Pond Comes to NLM Lawn: NIH Record, January 2011

2010 Awards and Success Stories

FY2010 HHS Green Champions
Good Neighbor Category
NIH Stoney Creek Pond Honorable Mention
Change Agent Category
NIH Green Labs Fairs, Jean Tiong-Koehler, PhD
Electronic Stewardship Category
NIH - Data Center Multi-Institute Consol
NIH - NIH End-of-Life Electronic Stewardship
Environmental Stewardship Category
NIH - Construction Debris Recycling Program
NIH - Waste Diversion Through Composting
Energy and Fleet Category
NIH - Building 2 Eco Strip Installation
Green Procurement Category
NIH/NCI - Green Office Management, Joan Becker
NIH - Master Plan Study
Water Conservation Category
NIH - Water Resource Management
NIH’ers Support ‘Car Free Day’: NIH Record, October 2010
NIH Effort Earns ‘GreenGov’ Award NIH Record, November 2010
NIH recognized as a runner-up for the Bethesda Magazine Green Awards
NIH was recognized as a runner-up for the Bethesda Magazine Green Awards in the nonprofit organizations that have significantly incorporated green practices into their culture and operations category. Bethesda Green worked in partnership with Bethesda Magazine to recognize the region’s green champions. Chosen from 130 nominations across five categories, the magazine’s Green Award Winners were honored at the Bethesda Green Gala and profiled in the November / December issue of the Bethesda Magazine.
America Recycles Day (November 15, 2010)
NIH celebrated America Recycles Day with a Recycling Competition
America Recycles Day occurs annually on November 15th. This year the Office of Research Facilities (ORF), Division of Environmental Protection (DEP) created a recycling completion, pitting building against building. The accumulation of mixed paper and commingles recycling was tracked throughout the month of October and the results were announced during the week of November 15. The buildings were judged on the reduction of solid waste generated and the increase in materials recycled. The building with the largest decrease in solid waste as compared to October 2009 was declared the Waste Minimization Extraordinaire. The Grand Champion honor went to the building with the highest recycling rate.
NIH Featured in the Gazette.Net
On Wednesday, November 17, 2010, an article written by Sarah Gantz was published in the Gazette.Net titled “NIH Bethesda campus goes green.” It highlights the NIH’s Recovery Act projects, including the John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center.
Telework Seen as Solution to Many Challenges NIH Record, December 2010

Older Awards and Success Stories

EPA Recognizes the National Institutes of Health for Its Environmental Leadership
"EPA commends NIH for being the first federal facility in Maryland to enroll in the National Partnership for Environmental Priorities program," said Maria Vickers, EPA Deputy Director for the Office of Solid Waste. "They're not only a leader in medical research, but now a leader in demonstrating how facilities can make changes in carrying out their work in a more environmentally-protective way."
NIH Wins EPA NPEP Award By Reducing Mercury Through Sustainable Lab Decommissioning
NIH was the first federal facility in Maryland to enroll in the National Partnership for Environmental Priorities or NPEP. NPEP is EPA’s voluntary program in which private and public organizations work with EPA to reduce the use or release of 31 priority chemicals, including mercury, beyond regulatory requirements. In becoming a partner, NIH committed to establishing an organization-wide education and awareness program to eliminate mercury use where alternatives are available, and to prevent future installation of mercury switches and other devices in all new NIH facility construction.
Mad as a Hatter Mercury Reduction Campaign Wins Howard Fawcett Award
NIH employees have taken our campus very close to being mercury free through the NIH’s Mad as a Hatter mercury reduction campaign. We’ve used promotional materials and developed approaches for improving awareness of mercury hazards and pollution prevention on NIH facilities. Much of this material is now widely used by other organizations and for public outreach. This campaign won the American Chemical Society’s prestigious Howard Fawcett award for outstanding contributions to the science, technology, education, and communication of chemical health and safety.
Suburban Urban Forest Conservation Plan Wins Awards
NIH’s longstanding proactive landscape practices were formalized as the “NIH Urban Forest Conservation Plan”. This plan received the “2005 White Oak Award for Excellence in Forest Conservation and Land Development” from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the “2006 Gold Leaf Award for Outstanding Landscape Beautification Activities” from the International Society of Arboriculture. This plan was further enhanced over the last 4 years as NIH converted over 21 acres of campus space to vegetated and natural woodland habitat. This includes the removal of over 5 acres of asphalt parking lots and the conversion of over 16 acres of previously manicured lawns to reforested ‘no mow zones’ (including 6 acres along the NIH stream and 10 acres of woodland just west of the Children’s Inn on Cedar Lane).
Electronics Reuse and Recycling Wins White House Award
The NIH was selected by the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive (OFEE) as a winner of the 2007 Federal Electronics Reuse and Recycling Campaign as a result of NIH’s emphasis on recycling and reuse. Federal agencies were encouraged to compete in this campaign which began on November 15, 2006 and ended on March 19, 2007. The NIH won in the large civilian agency category based on the quantities of used electronic equipment that was reused or recycled. Last year the total for NIH was over 260 tons! The NIH received the award on Tuesday April 17, 2007, at an awards ceremony held at the White House.