Sustainability in Action

Great Lakes Region GSA (Region 5) is proud of its efforts to reduce usage of energy and water, increase use of green processes and products, and expand recycling efforts.


Energy, Water Conservation Efforts Continue Success through 3rd Quarter, FY15

For the first nine months of the fiscal year (FY 2015), energy usage has dropped 6.9% compared to the same period in the previous fiscal year (note, a fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30 of the following year). Energy usage per gross square foot is currently 31% below the FY 2003 baseline.

Over the same period, water usage has been reduced by 6.2%. Water usage per gross square foot is 47% below the FY 2007 baseline.

Milder weather compared to 2014's extreme cold has helped, but large projects and operational efficiency gains are also reducing energy usage, most notably Recovery Act projects in Indianapolis, Ind., and Fort Snelling, Minn., as well as Energy Savings Performance Contracts in Battle Creek, Mich.; Chicago, Ill.; and Cleveland, Ohio.  

Additionally, the region has expanded sophisticated analytic systems like Advanced Utility Metering and GSA Link. These systems work by flagging anomalies in a building's energy or water usage and providing property managers with possible causes and solutions.

Minnesota Project Wins Department of Energy Award for Energy and Water Conservation

Comprehensive renovations completed through an American Recovery Act Project at the Whipple Federal Building in Fort Snelling, Minn., in FY 2014 reduced energy and water usage by 42% and 60% respectively, compared to the FY 2009 (pre-ARRA) baseline.

To accomplish the difficult goal of a minimum 40% in energy savings, the project converted from a standard chiller and boiler system to a geothermal ground-source heat pump system. In addition, a 15 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system was installed on the roof, and 60% of the hot water demand is now met through a solar thermal system.

Over the next 40 years, the projects are expected to avoid about 40,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and save $13 million in utility costs.


  • Achieved an aggregated regional diversion rate of 58%
  • Recycled more than 3,800 tons of material
  • Reduced printing and paper consumption by moving to electronic-based processes
  • Avoided $350,000 in landfill costs and earned $214,000 from recycling
Last Reviewed 2015-09-10