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President Obama Expands Greenhouse Gas Reduction Target for Federal Operations

President Obama announced on July 20th. that the Federal Government will reduce greenhouse gas pollution from indirect sources, such as employee travel and commuting, by 13% by 2020. This commitment expands beyond the Administration’s greenhouse gas reduction target from direct sources set in January, 2010, such as Federal fleets and buildings, by 2020. Cumulatively, greenhouse gas pollution reductions from Federal government operations will total 101 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to the emissions from 235 million barrels of oil.

The reductions in greenhouse gas emissions is called for in President Obama’s Executive Order 13514 on Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, which requires the Federal government to lead by example towards a clean energy economy and reduce, measure and report direct and indirect greenhouse gas pollution.

“Every year, the Federal Government consumes more energy than any other single organization or company in the United States,” said President Obama. “That energy goes towards lighting and heating government buildings, fueling vehicles and powering federal projects across the country and around the world. The government has a responsibility to use that energy wisely, to reduce consumption, improve efficiency, use renewable energy, like wind and solar, and cut costs.”

The Federal government is the single largest energy consumer in the US economy. It owns 600,000 vehicles, owns and manages nearly 500,000 buildings, and paid a $24.5 billion utility and fuel bill in 2008. Meeting these targets will engage the nearly 2 million men and women across the country who are employed by Federal agencies.

In conjunction with this announcement, Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Hilda L. Solis, Secretary of Labor, Martha Johnson, Administrator of the General Services Administration, and Ronald Sims, Deputy Secretary of the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development convened a Clean Energy Economy Forum on Federal leadership in High Performance Sustainable Building.

On October 19, 2009, the White House launched the GreenGov Challenge to ask all Federal and military personnel to share ideas about how the federal community can lead by example, green the government, and meet the goals of President Obama’s Executive Order on Federal Sustainability. The GreenGov Challenge generated more than 5,000 ideas and 165,000 votes from 14,000 federal employees.
Some GreenGov ideas have already been put into practice, from doubling the Federal hybrid fleet to eliminating Styrofoam cups from agency cafeterias. Other ideas, such as utilizing renewable energy to power Federal buildings and expanding bicycle commuting, are being incorporated into each Federal agency’s annual Sustainability Plan.

The Executive Order further requires that the actions Federal agencies take to meet these goals have a positive return on investment for the American taxpayer. To promote accountability, annual progress will be measured by the Office of Management and Budget and reported online to the public.

Some top ideas from the Challenge:

•Teleworking should be an option for anyone who works in federal government as an employee or contractor whose job could allow for such flexibility. This falls under conserving a LOT of energy, but it would also reduce commuters’ carbon footprint.
−Josh, Oakton, VA
•Use motion activated lights in halls, bathrooms, etc.
−Kevin, MD
•Powering down all desktop computers, locally connected printers, and other non-net¬worked peripherals at the end of the day will reduce energy consumption.
−Aaron Helton, OPM, Washington, DC
•Why are solar panels not installed on every agency headquarters in the Washington, DC area? I would cover the rooftops of every agency building. Solar panels can be used to reduce electric consumption and to heat water. They are very effective.
−HR Spec, OPM
•Replace any incandescent light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) or Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs).
−Katie S., Washington, DC

GreenGov Collaborative
To build on this momentum President Obama is issued a new challenge to Federal and military personnel to put these ideas to work. Since then the GreenGov Collaborative has grown into an online community of more than 1,000 members dedicated to putting those ideas into action.

To learn more about the GreenGov Challenge.

The White House Council on Environmental Quality will hold the first GreenGov Symposium on October 5-7, 2010, hosted by The George Washington University on its Foggy Bottom Campus in Washington, DC.

The 2010 GreenGov Symposium represents the first time the Obama Administration will bring together leaders from Federal, state and local governments, nonprofit and academic communities and the private sector to identify opportunities around greening the Federal Government. During the three day educational event, participants will share challenges and best practices, and discuss cutting-edge approaches for the future. Topics covered at the 2010 GreenGov Symposium will include clean energy, water efficiency, getting to zero waste, greening the supply chain, and sustainable communities.

To register for the GreenGov Symposium.

For questions about the symposium, .

Federal Government Employee $225
Nonprofit, State, or Local Government Employee $250
Private Sector Employee $300

Perhaps the triple bottom line should be applied from the onset; charging more for a private sector employee than a federal government employee sends a less than transparent message as well wouldn’t it be even more sustainable if it were for free?

About Valerie J. Amor:
As an architectural consultant, LEED AP, LEED certification reviewer, real estate broker and AIA associate, Valerie J. Amor is dynamically engaged in sustainability and issues regarding the built environment. Actively participating in several local, county and national organizations and committees focused on sustainability issues, she is also owner/principal of Drawing Conclusions and founder/president of Green Collar Connection, companies engaged in sustainable design, real estate development, green job training and research. Knowledgeable and well connected she brings you timely and thoughtful articles. Reach her at .

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Posted by Valerie J. Amor on Aug 29 2010. Filed under Broward County, Emerging Green, Federal Government. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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