Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
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SAN LUIS NWR COMPLEX: Refuge Visitor Center Receives Department of Energy Award
California-Nevada Offices , November 27, 2013
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Receiving the award (from left to right):  Mike Carr,  DOE; Cynthia Martinez, USFWS; Kim Forrest, USFWS; Brian Bloodsworth, USFWS; and Dr. Timothy Unruh, DOE
Receiving the award (from left to right): Mike Carr, DOE; Cynthia Martinez, USFWS; Kim Forrest, USFWS; Brian Bloodsworth, USFWS; and Dr. Timothy Unruh, DOE - Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Energy

By Jack Sparks and Michael Woodbridge

On November 6, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) San Luis National Wildlife Refuge Complex, along with 24 other winners across the federal government, were recognized by the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as recipients of the 2013 Federal Energy and Water Management Awards.

These annual awards highlight federal agencies' commitments to lead the nation in implementing efficiency measures to improve energy, water and vehicle fleet management that save taxpayer money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The awards were presented by Dr. Timothy Unruh, FEMP Director, and Mike Carr, Principal Deputy Secretary for DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, with remarks from the Honorable Dennis V. McGinn, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations & Environment).

A team from the Service’s Pacific and Pacific Southwest regions received this prestigious award for the Headquarters and Visitor Center at the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Los Banos, California. The team is comprised of: Kim Forrest, Project Leader; Bob Parris, Deputy Project Leader; Mary Crist, Administrative Officer; Beth Ludvigsen, Landscape Architect, Division of Engineering, Pacific Region; and Shannon Blackburn, Contracting Officer, Contracting and General Services, Pacific Region.

The 16,500 square-foot building is the Service’s first net-zero energy Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certified building. It is a model of sustainability. During the first year of operation, the new building produced an impressive 103 megawatt-hours of electricity via nine solar photovoltaic arrays totaling 59.2 kilowatts that helped save 42.2 metric tons of greenhouse gases. Seventeen new energy technologies used in the building include: structural insulated panels; a cool roof; abundant daylighting achieved with “SolaTubes”, clerestories, and skylights, and operable low-e glazed windows; passive and evaporative cooling; and energy-efficient lighting.

Many building elements are composed of recycled materials such as: countertops; ceiling tiles; wallboard; wheat straw cabinetry; fly ash in the concrete; and certified sustainably harvested lumber. Low-volatile organic carbon carpets, paints, and adhesives provide a healthy indoor work environment. Remarkably, 90 percent of construction waste was recycled. Water use is reduced more than 35 percent with low-flow and waterless plumbing that saves approximately 396,000 gallons annually. Xeriscaping, native plants, limited drip-irrigation, and stormwater containment conserve water outdoors. Interpretation of the facility’s “green” features is highlighted by dynamic, interactive exhibits for the estimated 150,000 annual visitors.

Jack Sparks is an outdoor recreation planner at San Luis National Wildlife Refuge Complex, and Michael Woodbridge is a public affairs officer at the Pacific Southwest Regional Office in Sacramento, California.


Contact Info: Michael Woodbridge, 916-978-4445, michael_woodbridge@fws.gov
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