The General Services Administration last year exceeded its fiscal year 2020 greenhouse gas reduction target, reducing emissions by more than 35 percent from 2008 levels, and reached its other sustainability benchmarks for longer term targets, according to its Office of Management and Budget 2013 Sustainability and Energy Scorecard.
The GSA – the federal government “landlord” that manages 9,600 buildings – sources almost 21 percent of its electricity from renewables, with 2.5 percent of that from new sources, according to the report. Fleet petroleum use is down 36 percent from 2005 – which also exceeds the agency’s 2015 target of a 20 percent reduction – and 10.8 percent of GSA facilities are sustainable buildings, the scorecard says.
The agency said it has worked to improve environmental and energy efficiency of its facilities through the use of technologies including solar panels, advanced lighting systems, geothermal technology, wind power, and low-flow plumbing systems. Overall the, GSA has saved $65.5 million on energy in fiscal year 2012.
The agency said that last year, it reduced water usage in buildings by nearly 20 percent from 2007 levels, ahead of its goal of 10 percent, leading to a cost avoidance of about $6.5 million.
The EPA also is meeting all its sustainability targets. The departments of Energy, Interior, Agriculture and State, NASA, the Social Security Administration and the Smithsonian Institution are among the agencies that are on target for at least five of seven performance categories. Federal agencies less on track include the departments of Commerce, Treasury, Veteran Affairs, and Defense, according to the 25 agency scorecards.
The performance categories – Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions reductions, Scope 3 GHG emissions reductions, energy intensity, renewable energy use, water intensity, fleet petroleum use and green buildings – are measured against reduction targets for 2015 or 2020, or percentage-based usage targets. This is the third year that agencies released their progress reports, according to the Obama administration website performance.gov.
The federal government is the largest consumer of energy in the American economy with more than 1.8 million civilian employees, 500,000 buildings, and $500 billion in annual purchasing power, the site said.
The reporting initiative follows a 2009 executive order directing government agencies to meet a range of energy, water, pollution and waste reduction targets. The scorecards use a color-coded evaluation system with green indicating success; yellow for mixed results; and red for unsatisfactory progress, according to the Council on Environmental Quality.