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Greening of the Government
It's been a year since President Barack Obama issued the executive order requiring agencies to reduce the amount of energy they use. Over the past 12 months, agencies have been putting the infrastructure in place to begin to tackle these goals. So, just how much of a difference are these mandates making? Is it lip service or real change? Federal News Radio analyzes the impact the programs and policies are having in making the government more green in our series Greening of the Government.
Column: GSA likes its standing as a leader in green
Tuesday - 10/5/2010, 1:53pm EDT
The President recognized that GSA's role as the government's acquisition expert positions us to examine and impact the sustainability of the goods we are procuring across government. Last year, GSA was directly responsible for more than $60 billion in government purchases, and indirectly influenced over half a trillion dollars in federal spending. That is a tremendous amount of buying power that could be harnessed and directed toward more sustainable products. So, we have undertaken an incentivized, phased approach to ask federal vendors to track and disclose their greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).
Having this information will help us move toward purchasing more sustainable products. Recognizing that small businesses are the engine of the American economy, we are committed to providing them with the tools and support they will need to track their emissions. We've also developed a carbon footprint tool that will allow federal agencies to calculate their own GHG emissions.
Thanks to the Recovery Act, we are putting people and green technologies to work modernizing our federal buildings. Across the country, we are installing solar panels, public green spaces and smart metering technology. We are employing the highest standards of sustainable design and construction. We are modernizing properties and installing cutting edge technologies in all 50 states.
All of this work positions us to see what works best in different climates and settings, and we are sharing our knowledge. The work that we are doing now will literally change the way federal buildings look and feel in the future.
The Recovery Act also facilitated GSA's purchase of over 22,000 more fuel efficient vehicles for the federal fleet, including thousands of hybrids. These vehicles will reduce the fuel we consume by millions of barrels over the coming years.
Sustainability is a significant challenge, but the government is moving, and GSA is committed to helping our federal agency partners rise to the challenge. In our role as workplace solutions experts, we have researched and implemented green services and technologies for decades. As agencies across government work to reduce their environmental footprint and provide a more efficient and cost effective government for the American people, GSA will draw on our size, experience and expertise to help them achieve their goals.
Stephen Leeds is the General Services Administration's senior counselor to the administrator.