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Each year, the U.S. Department of Energy, in conjunction with the Federal Interagency Energy Policy Committee, sponsors the Federal Energy and Water Management Awards, which honor individuals and organizations making significant contributions to energy and water efficiency within the Federal Government.

The awards recognize outstanding achievements in:

  • Energy and water efficiency and conservation
  • Renewable energy implementation
  • Sustainable practices for high-performance buildings
  • Fleet and transportation management.

A luncheon ceremony will be held later this year in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the achievements of the 2015 Federal Energy and Water Management Award winners. This year, the U.S. General Services Administration will be presented with two Federal Energy and Management Awards — including 1 career exceptional service and one project award.


The award winners included:


Career Exceptional Service Award


Michael Okoro
GSA, Environmental and Energy Branch, Region 10
Auburn, WA

As a devoted public servant for 24 years, Michael leads GSA in Energy and Sustainability program creation, advancements, advocacy, and accomplishments. He remains an extraordinary example of how to achieve the triple bottom line of sustainable building operations without sacrificing environmental quality or tenant satisfaction. He takes risks that hold back most large portfolio program managers to reach mandated target goals for energy and water savings. He develops, advocates for and institutes best practices, while taking the time to educate all stakeholders involved.  Highlights of his career that support his nomination are:


• Creates exemplary Energy and Sustainability Programs that pay for themselves in savings

• Insists that construction and operations contracts contain enforceable performance goals

• Remains an early adopter of innovative and cutting-edge programs

• Formed building level Green Teams that change tenant behaviors to save resources

• Advances integrated building management across a large, multi-disciplined organization.

Michael Okoro’s GSA career pursuits focusing on the holistic intent of portfolio sustainability, and the resulting tangible accomplishments, make him an extremely worthy recipient for the Career Exceptional Service award.


Project Award

Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building ARRA Project
GSA, Region 5
Fort Snelling, MN
Michael Messerie, Justin Weingartz, Keith Kennedy, Oana Sandru and Debra Young

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Project at the Whipple Federal Building completely transformed the way the building uses energy and water.  Upon completion, it reduced energy and water usage in the 700,000 square-foot building by 42% and 60% respectively (compared to the 2009 pre-ARRA baseline).  The project included state-of-the-art engineering to accomplish the difficult goal of minimum 40% energy savings.  To do so, the building was converted from a standard chiller and boiler system to a geothermal ground-source heat pump system.  In addition, 60% of the hot water demand is met through a solar thermal system, and a 15 kW solar photovoltaic system was installed on the roof. The project also included innovative features like fan-wall air handlers, heat-wheels for energy re-capture, advanced meters for monitoring and analysis, CO2 sensors for precise environmental control, and a rainwater re-capture system. Over the next 40 years, these projects are expected to avoid roughly 40,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions and $13 million in utility costs.