GSA's Chief Greening Officer explains the mission

Thursday - 6/17/2010, 10:04am EDT

Eleni Reed, CGO, GSA

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By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

The General Services Administration has a brand-new position -- Chief Greening Officer.

The first person to hold that post, Eleni Reed, told Federal News Radio she'll be part of the Public Building Service, but "the ultimate goal is enhance the environmental performance of the GSA portfolio."

That would be the entire portfolio. Nearly 10,000 buildings worth of GSA's government-owned and leased buildings.

The position "expands GSA's capacity to respond to the President's challenge," according to a GSA press release, issued as an Executive Order.

Reed said that order "sets out specific goals for federal agencies to really drive environmental performance and looks at issues such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing energy efficiency, reducing water consumption and looking at preventing and reducing waste to name only a few. So there's a lot of momentum across government and this executive order is certainly a driver."

"Driving environmental performance" means both using less and creating less, said Reed.

When we talk about high-performance buildings and looking at enhancing environmental performance, we're really talking about embedding sustainability practices across our business lines and also with a focus on driving implementation. So it's clearly about energy efficiency as we strive to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and bring down operational costs but it's also looking at how we can become better performers environmentally and look at reducing our consumption of water and preventing and reducing waste.

Being the first Chief Greening Officer is exciting, said Reed, but not because of the rare air.

I'm a big believer in buildings being part of the solution to environmental challenges, so there are many ways in which we can take small steps to reduce environmental impact and reduce operational costs at the same time.

Reed added the best part about being part of the Public Building Service is having an impact on "each stage of the real estate lifecycles. So when we think about acquisition, leasing, construction, operations and maintenance, it really touches on all the aspects of real estate and there's really an ability to drive, and to continue to drive change because of the scale at which we're operating here. We're talking about a very large portfolio: 361 million square feet. So there's a lot of opportunity and scalability."