Glacier Bay Earns EPA’S Green Government Award
November 20, 2009
Congratulations are in order for Glacier Bay. On November 19, at the
Environmental Protection Agency’s Second Annual Green Challenge Symposium
near Seattle, the park was presented the Champions of Environmental
Leadership and Green Government Award for exceeding 5 percent reduction in
energy consumption and a 5 percent increase in the amount of their waste
stream that was recycled in 2009.
The Park achieved a 7% reduction in electrical use and a 9% reduction in
fuel use, both related to the park’s off-grid production of power using
diesel generators. The reduction in use is a result of the aggressive
electrical energy conservation program initiated by the park several years
ago and is also a byproduct of a slight drop in overnight stays and
activity at the Glacier Bay Lodge, the largest electrical load in the park.
The reduced power demand allowed the park to operate for a longer period of
the year on the smallest of three generators. Operating a smaller
generator closer to its rated capacity provides greater fuel economy than
running a larger generator at partial load. This helps account for the
fact that the fuel savings was greater than the reduction in power
The award is also for the park’s incredible recycling operation. In
addition to reducing the overall waste stream, the park was able to
increase the percentage of that waste stream that was recycled (called the
diversion rate) from 49.8% in 2008 to 57.5% in 2009 – a 7.7% increase. By
making recycling easy and convenient, park staff was motivated to take the
extra time required to segregate the waste stream at the time of disposal.
Though EPA’s focus was on the 7.7% increase, it is important to consider
the diversion rates they are achieving. Diversion rates of this magnitude
are a huge accomplishment and Glacier Bay has been achieving rates of over
40% since 2004! In comparison, the diversion rate for Anchorage as a whole
is about 12-16%. Even in the Anchorage neighborhoods where curbside
recycling is available, the diversion rate is around 25%.
As a comparison within the National Park Service, the Alaska Regional
Office’s diversion rate in Anchorage is about 36% and almost all the
material is paper. Glacier Bay’s waste stream is much more diverse and its
recycling operation has much more significant logistical challenges than
Anchorage. Glacier Bay has already achieved the FY 2015 diversion goal of
50% established by Executive Order 13514, Federal Leadership in
Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance, (
http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-24518.pdf ) signed by President
Obama in October.
Also acknowledged at the Symposium were Kenai Fjords and Denali, who
renewed their participation in the Federal Green Challenge program.
For more information on the Federal Green Challenge, you can refer to