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Doan Says GSA Ready to Help Agencies Hit Environmental Targets


Remarks by
Lurita A. Down
Administrator
U.S. General Services Administration
GovEnergy Workshop and Exposition
New Orleans, Louisiana

August 6, 2007


Bonjour et Bienvenue a la Nouvelle Orléans!

Good morning, everyone! Thanks very much Scott; Scott Armey is the Regional Administrator of GSA’s Region 7, and he has led much of GSA’s effort during Hurricane Katrina and has been instrumental in the rebuilding effort that is still ongoing at historic New Orleans’ buildings such as the U.S. Customs House on Canal Street. 

It’s wonderful to be with you today in my hometown, and a privilege to welcome our co-sponsors and good friends from the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs and the Environment Protection Agency.

I want to say thank you to all the public and private energy and facility managers, and to the many business reps from companies large and small who are here today.

For years, folks have thought of GSA as the government’s landlord. While that’s only part of what we do, it’s a big part. We take it seriously. Like any good landlord, we try to keep the 8,600 buildings in our inventory in good shape and our tenants happy. Unlike most landlords, GSA is a federal agency with a huge responsibility to the taxpayers and the nation. That means, for instance, leading by example when it comes to saving energy.

That’s why there was no paper when you registered and why you’re wearing recycled name badges: we’ve made this conference as green as possible.

Leading by example also means staying alert for opportunities to conserve resources, be it in the amount of gas used by the federal fleet, or the electricity used to light our buildings. It also means being ready with the right products and services to help our customer agencies meet their environmental targets.

One example: in the early 1990’s, GSA began retrofitting buildings with more efficient lighting systems. In fact, we met our 20 percent energy reduction target mostly through these retrofits. More innovation has followed.

We now use daylight harvesting techniques to capture natural daylight and smart control systems to turn off lights near windows. Such projects are challenging, but they’re worth it, because they not only reduce energy used for lighting, they also cut the amount of heat produced by the lights.  That lessens the amount of air conditioning needed to cool the building. And that cuts the size of the mechanical system needed, and produces even greater savings.

GSA has taken a synergistic approach to energy conservation.   It makes no sense to save energy in buildings and then squander it in, say, increased emissions from the cars of thousands of federal employees sitting in daily traffic.

That’s why GSA developed 14 Telework centers that each year save 2.8 million travel miles and 115,000 gallons of fuel, and keep 2.3 million pounds of emissions out of the air we breathe.

Joint challenges require a joint effort. We must all work together to save energy, promote the use of environment-friendly goods and services, and to make sure we’re being responsible stewards of our nation’s precious resources. And that’s why we’re here today – to share ideas, talk about what works, to trade stories, discuss setbacks, and of course to swap phone numbers.

Two individuals you’ll definitely want to meet this week are:

• Sam Hunter, GSA’s Assistant Commissioner for Applied Science;

• And Mark Ewing, Director of the GSA Energy Center of Expertise.

I want to thank all who generously worked hand in hand yesterday with the Zion City Neighborhood Improvement Association and the Broadmoor Improvement Association. As you saw, the high water line is still visible on many of the houses we worked on … a grim reminder of the terrible force Katrina unleashed on this city. 
 
Before I finish today, I have the special honor of presenting the President’s Volunteer Service Award to three special individuals. Josh Sawislak is the head of GSA’s Volunteer Service Program.  Josh would you come to the stage to help present the Volunteer Awards?

Today we thank Bradley Latham, the Reverend Marilyn Jordan, and Lance Davis for their outstanding volunteer activities.

Bradley Latham is the president of Teenslead. His organization matches teens with volunteer activities. Setting a great example for his peers, Bradley volunteered over 500 hours this year – and it’s only August! Bradley serves at his parish, at Lafayette Academy Charter School, and with the Broadmoor Improvement Association. Thanks Bradley and congratulations. 

Reverend Marilyn Jordan leads the Zion City Community Development Corporation. Giving over 1,000 hours to Zion City projects this year, Reverend Jordan also founded the New Orleans-based Life Enrichment Program. Thank you Reverend Jordan for all your volunteer efforts. You’ve made a significant contribution to the city you love.

Lance Davis knows a thing or two about rebuilding. During the day, Lance serves as a sustainable design expert at GSA.  But when his expertise is needed, Lance takes time off to rebuild homes damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Andrew, and building homes for Habitat for Humanity. Lance has already done a lifetime of volunteer service. Thanks Lance.
Congratulations to our award recipients, and again, thank you all for coming to this year’s GovEnergy conference. Please remember that when it comes to the purchase of renewable energy, alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles, or even an energy-efficient building, GSA stands ready and eager to help your agencies meet their environmental goals.

This week’s conference promises to be both informative and energy efficient, so, as we New Orleanians like to say: Laissez les bons temps rouler!  Let the good times roll!
 
Thank you very much.