Did you know that the Federal Government manages more than 350,000 buildings and 600,000 vehicles and is the largest consumer of energy in the Nation? Last year, federal agencies spent more than $6 billion on energy for buildings and $635 million on water! For these reasons, the Federal Government strives to be a leader in sustainable asset management and continues to focus on efficiently managing their buildings, vehicles, and overall operations to optimize energy and environmental performance, reduce waste, and cut costs. These activities are in response to a series of four presidential Executive Orders (EOs) that have been issued, starting in January 2007 under President Bush.
Personally, I’ve had the opportunity to see the implementation of these sustainability EOs at the “user level” as I supported several U.S. Marine Corps bases in the west with developing installation-specific strategic sustainability plans to meet the various EO requirements. The one thing that stood out the most was the high level of interest, ingenuity, and commitment to the environment that individual Marines and the respective Command/leadership staff dedicated to meeting, and in most cases, exceeding sustainability goals – they are making it happen!
Most recently, on May 17, 2018, President Trump signed EO 13834 “Regarding Efficient Federal Operations – Energy and Environment” with the intent of driving efficiency and cost savings by directing federal agencies to manage their buildings, vehicles, and overall operations to optimize energy and environmental performance, reduce waste, and cut costs. Key requirements of EO 13834 include:
- Reducing building energy use annually and implementing cost-saving energy efficiency measures.
- Meeting statutory requirements for renewable energy and electricity consumption.
- Reducing potable and non-potable water consumption and complying with stormwater management requirements.
- Utilizing performance contracting to achieve energy, water, building modernization and infrastructure goals.
- Ensuring new construction and major renovations conform to building efficiency requirements and sustainable design principles; considering building efficiency when renewing or entering into leases; implementing space utilization and optimization practices; annually reporting on building conformance to sustainability metrics.
- Implementing waste prevention and recycling, and complying with federal requirements on the management and disposal of solid, hazardous and toxic waste.
- Adhering to Federal Acquisition Regulation requirements and procurement policies regarding the purchase, use, and disposal of products, including electronics.
- Tracking and reporting on energy management activities, performance improvements, cost reductions, greenhouse gas emissions, energy and water savings, and other performance measures.
So, while not always making the news these days, there are good things happening within government agencies and departments related to environmental sustainability.
If you’re interested in reading more about any of these EOs—listed chronologically below—links are provided as well as a link to the most recent version of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan which provides a great summary of the overall sustainability posture of the DoD, how sustainability initiatives are measured and tracked, as well as providing many examples of how the DoD is a leader in sustainability innovation.
- January 2007, President Bush EO 13423, “Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management,” instructed federal agencies to conduct their environmental, transportation, and energy-related activities under the law in support of their respective missions in an environmentally, economically, and fiscally sound, integrated, continuously. https://www.fedcenter.gov/programs/eo13423/
- October 2009, President Obama EO 13514, “Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance,” expanded on the energy reduction and environmental performance requirements for federal agencies identified in EO 13423. The stated goal of EO 13514 was “to establish an integrated strategy towards sustainability in the Federal Government and to make reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) a priority for federal agencies.” https://www.fedcenter.gov/programs/eo13514/
- March 2015, President Obama, EO 13693, “Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade.” The goal of EO 13693 was to maintain federal leadership in sustainability and continue to be a leader in GHG emission reductions. https://www.fedcenter.gov/programs/eo13693/
- May 2018, President Trump, EO 13834, “Regarding Efficient Federal Operations – Energy and Environment,” Stated goals: driving efficiency and cost savings by directing federal agencies to manage their buildings, vehicles, and overall operations to optimize energy and environmental performance, reduce waste, and cut costs. https://www.sustainability.gov/eo-efo.html
- 2016 DoD Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan: https://www.denix.osd.mil/sustainability/dod-sspp/unassigned/department-of-defense-strategic-sustainability-performance-plan-fy-2016/
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or if Scout can help with your sustainability planning!