GSA tool helps agencies measure greenhouse gas emissions

Monday - 1/23/2012, 12:00pm EST

Jennifer Hazelman, manager, GSA's Carbon Footprint Tool

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The General Services Administration is helping your agency collect information about emissions by your employees. GSA's Scope three Commuter Survey asks the people who work at your agency how they get to work. The goal is to help agencies reduce their carbon footprints.

"GSA is leading several efforts to help agencies save operational resources and taxpayer dollars," said Jennifer Hazelman, who manages GSA's Carbon Footprint Tool. "So, we're leaving more in their budgets and more for their missions."

Jennifer Hazelman, of the Program Analysis Division within GSA's Federal Acquisition Service, speaks at the 2010 GreenGov Symposium last October. (GSA.gov)

She told The Federal Drive with Tom Temin about the Carbon Footprint Tool, which allows agencies to measure, manage and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

"You don't have to be a greenhouse gas expert to develop your comprehensive inventory," Hazelman said.

GSA developed the tool for its own use. But, when Executive Order 13514 was signed in 2009 requiring federal agencies to make the elimination of greenhouse gases a priority, GSA opened it up for all agencies to use for free.

One of the big challenges facing agencies is developing a comprehensive inventory that helps determine emissions that are accurate and relevant to their employees' commutes. GSA worked with the Department of Transportation's Volpe Center, the Department of Energy and the Council on Environmental Quality to develop the tool's comprehensive commuter survey.

The survey is made up of eight questions that agencies answer to calculate their emissions. There are also 23 optional questions to help managers understand employee behaviors that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions through commuting and what policies or program changes can be adopted to reduce those emissions.

"Some of the things that we found with our own agency were that people were maybe not taking advantage of telework as they could, or the telework program may not have been available for their particular job," Hazelman said. "Those are the kinds of things that you can realize once your employees take a commuter survey."

So far, more that 63,000 federal employees have completed the commuter survey.

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