Going green saves green and GSA is committed to making a sustainable government that reduces energy and water use in federal buildings, responsibly disposes of electronic waste, consolidates workspaces, and greens the federal fleet. To commemorate the 44th Earth Day, GSA will highlight its cost-saving efforts to reduce the government’s environmental impact.
Greening the Federal Fleet
GSA Acting Administrator Tangherlini recently announced a new GSA Fleet consolidation initiative to give federal agencies the opportunity to replace their aging fleet with hybrid vehicles. Through this initiative, GSA would expand the number of hybrid vehicles in the federal fleet by up to 10,000 vehicles, resulting in the reduction of approximately 1,000,000 gallons of fuel per year for the life of these vehicles. This is a significant opportunity to more efficiently manage fleet operations, create significant savings through fuel efficiency, and make government more sustainable.
In the Northwest Arctic Region, GSA recently helped Navy Base Everett become the first Navy Base fleet in the nation to be 100 percent compliant in using alternative fueled vehicles. The Navy installed an E85 fueling station so these vehicles can operate using alternate fuel. Northwest/Arctic Region Fleet Service Representatives Lee Heydlauff and Georgette Brock partnered with the Navy to complete this challenge as part of GSA’s ongoing effort to save agencies money and be sustainable.
In addition to helping our customers meet their targets, GSA uses its leverage as the nation’s largest real estate broker to evaluate energy saving technologies for federal buildings. The Northwest/Arctic region recently installed a honeycomb solar hot water system on the roof of the Regional Administration Building as part of the “green proving ground” program and to support the agency’s commitment to sustainability and innovation.
The honeycomb solar panels are a thermal system that uses the sun to heat water for use in the building. The technology is designed to help GSA meet the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) that requires that 30% of GSA’s hot water demand be met with solar hot water where cost effective. The honeycomb panels look like the name implies – there are crystal hexagonal “lenses” that focus the sun’s rays to amplify the energy. This type of collector panels works more effectively in diffuse light and in cold and temperate climate zones such as the Pacific Northwest.
The New England Region is helping support a more sustainable government by hosting an Energy Saving Light Fair on April 26th. Last year, nearly two thousand energy saving light bulbs were sold at the fair. The calculated savings from this figure alone is $50,000 in annual operating costs for a government agency, and nearly $250,000 on life cycle costs — the calculated savings for 2,000 bulbs assuming each bulb lasted five years. The air pollution reduction from using 2,000 less light bulbs and the fossil fuel they consume is equivalent to removing over 100 cars from the road.
Reducing Water Waste
In Denver, the Rocky Mountain Region has partnered with the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in an effort to conserve water in their federal buildings. In the first year of this project they were able to save one million gallons of water in a single federal building. For its efforts with the cooling tower project the Rocky Mountain Region won a prestigious award from Council on Environmental Quality.