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Mitigation is defined as “human interventions to reduce the sources of greenhouse gases or enhance the
sinks that remove them from the atmosphere. This page features some of the great things that individual sites in the sanctuary system are doing to be more energy-efficient and walk the talk when it comes to being “green.” These changes are driven both from the top down (for example, by Executive Order 13514 on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance) and from the bottom up (for example, by staff initiative).
While we are just beginning to understand the ramifications of climate change in our national marine sanctuaries, it is also important that we realize the impact of our own everyday actions on the special marine places we are trying to protect and what each of us can do to help. As a routine part of our stewardship mission, we are doing what we can in our own offices, visitor centers, vehicles, and vessels.
Sanctuary facilities are high efficiency structures that meet the highest building standards set pursuant to the Energy Policy Act and resulting Administrative Orders. Several of these structures have received Department of Energy awards and high ratings from the U.S. Green Building Council. These facilities contain exhibits to demonstrate energy and water saving practices to the public and local communities.
|Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center which is LEED gold certified. (Photo: NOAA)|
Every site is undertaking greening efforts in some way (please see the table and examples below). Every site recycles, and nearly every site uses energy efficient lighting; over half the sites utilize an alternative energy source, have energy efficient windows on their facilities, have building envelopes that help maintain climate control, allow teleworking, provide support facilities for employees to bike, and recycle their graywater. Forty percent or more of the sites have conducted energy audits, provide public transportation subsidies, and offer or facilitate carpooling. Some specific examples of projects include: