GSA Receives Sustainability Award

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently recognized GSA’s efforts to green federal buildings. EPA’s 2014 Federal Green Challenge Awards are based on actual measured performance improvements in 2013 in energy, water and waste reduction and other sustainability target areas.

Chicago Federal Center was recognized for reducing water and achieving energy savings.
Chicago Federal Center was recognized for reducing water and achieving energy savings.

GSA Region 9 (Pacific Rim) received an Overall Achievement Award. Among the Regional Office’s accomplishments was its transition to 100% post-consumer recycled paper and success in convincing other Federal purchasers to do the same. The strategy of using the agencies’ collective purchasing power allowed the Region to drive recycled paper prices down. Switching to recycled paper led to greenhouse gas emissions reductions of over 2,400 metric tons of carbon equivalent.

Region 9 also reduced water use by 24% and electricity use by 30% in its Regional Headquarters office. To reach these levels, the Region employed GSA’s Shave Energy Program and its utility’s Demand Response Program as well as Recovery Act- funded upgrades of lighting, plumbing fixtures, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

Other GSA awardees, by Region, included:

  • Great Lakes (Region 5):

    • Chicago Federal Center, recognized for reducing potable water use by 20%.  The site achieved these savings by upgrading restrooms with high efficiency, low flow fixtures, and implementing sustainable landscaping with low water-using plants and more efficient irrigation.

  • Greater Southwest (Region 7):  

    • New Orleans Customs House, New Orleans, LA, recognized for reducing potable water use by 49%.  The Region took advantage of post-Katrina renovations to install energy efficient hot water heaters and air handlers. Ongoing preventive maintenance also helped reap savings.

    • 1 Justice Park Drive Federal Building, Houston, TX recognized for GSA and its tenants recycling 56 tons of municipal solid waste, an 816 percent improvement from 2012. Strategies included reducing office paper use through double sided printing and electronic communications, buying recycled and recyclable materials, and reusing materials.

    • Houston Customs House, Houston, TX, recognized for eliminating natural gas usage, with the help of a new Building Automation System that allowed the facility manager to optimize boiler use.

These awards highlight a larger effort by GSA to reduce carbon emissions and help build a more sustainable government. Kudos to all the folks who made these achievements happen, saving resources and taxpayer dollars in the process.

To find out more about GSA’s sustainability efforts please visit our strategic sustainability website.