Sustainability in Action
SUSTAINABILITY IN THE NORTHEAST AND CARIBBEAN REGION
The Northeast and Caribbean Region is committed to supporting GSA’s goal to eliminate its impact on the natural environment and to use its government-wide influence to reduce the overall environmental impact of the federal government. The region is continually seeking ways to minimize and offset consumption of energy, water, and other resources as well as to eliminate waste and pollution in all operations and activities. GSA is also using its significant purchasing power to drive the market to produce a wider variety and greater number of products, services, and workspaces that are more sustainable.
These efforts involve seeking sustainable solutions in all areas of GSA operations - buying green products, services, and vehicles, as well as seeking the best green practices in facilities operations and construction projects. GSA has also positioned itself to serve as a proving ground for innovation and for the development and evaluation of green technologies and practices.
The following are some regional successes:
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®)
GSA uses the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system for evaluating and measuring the sustainability of its facilities. The LEED® rating system for buildings has redefined the way we think about the places where we live, work and learn. Region 2 currently has five LEED® rated locations:
- Land Port of Entry, Champlain, NY (Silver)
- Land Port of Entry, Massena, NY (Silver)
- U.S. Courthouse, Buffalo, NY (Gold)
- Veteran’s Administration Office (Lease), Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
- GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) Office, New York, NY (Gold)
The sustainable aspects of these projects involve energy and water efficiencies, use of recycled and sustainable materials and the purchase of power from renewable energy sources. The projects included use of variable speed pumps and motors; ventilation heat recovery, daylight controls and lighting occupancy sensors; energy efficient lighting systems; low-e glass; use of recycled materials; wood products from sustainable forests; full commissioning for major building systems (i.e. HVAC); low flow bathroom fixtures, dual flush water closets and waterless urinals to reduce water consumption; reflective roofing materials to reduce cooling needs and reduce the heat island effect; low emitting adhesives, paints, carpets and other materials to reduce air contaminates; and a sustainable purchasing plan enacted to maximize the use of recycled, locally sourced, and sustainable produced materials.
There are an additional 19 projects in Region 2 representing over three million square feet of office space currently pursuing LEED® certification.
Greening the Federal Supply Chain
As the government’s acquisition expert, FAS is moving the supply chain toward a more efficient and green future. FAS’ expertise and customized business solutions help customers achieve their green goals. The Multiple Award Schedules offer more than 12 million high-quality products and services at volume-discount prices from thousands of vendors, many of them with environmental attributes. To help customers meet their sustainability goals, FAS is incorporating environmental sustainability requirements into MAS contracts and is working closely with contractors to phase out brown (non-sustainable) items and replace them with green alternatives. Products meeting sustainability requirements are clearly identified with symbols on GSA Advantage!®.”
Demand Response Program (Energy Reduction Program)
Beginning with the summer of 2011, GSA's Northeast and Caribbean Region joined in a partnering effort with New York and New Jersey,along with an energy curtailment services partner, to start implementing an energy conservation and electric power grid reliability program known as energy load curtailment, or demand response services. Read GSA’s press release on this effort.
Greening the Federal Fleet
As the government’s vehicle acquisition experts, FAS is greening the government fleet, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving fuel economy. In Fiscal Year 2010, GSA replaced 5,603 existing federal fleet vehicles with hybrids, resulting in an estimated annual reduction of 1.2 million gallons of petroleum and 11,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases.
GSA Energy Star Buildings and Leases
The U.S. EPA's Energy Star rating system is used to measure and recognize superior energy performance in buildings. These ratings provide a means for benchmarking the most energy efficient buildings against the energy performance of similar buildings. The region currently has 12 buildings that have earned the prestigious Energy Star designation. In addition, all new GSA leases at non-federally owned buildings are required to be in space that has the Energy Star designation. Region 2 currently has 14 leases with the Energy Star designation.
Renewable Energy (Green Power)
The Northeast and Caribbean Region has been and continues to be a leader in supporting renewable power and has purchased renewable power every fiscal year for the past. The region currently ranks number five on the list of top ten largest Federal purchasers of green power according to the EPA’s Green Power Partnership program.
As of January 2012, green power accounted for 43% percent of Region 2’s electricity usage in New York and New Jersey. Region 2’s annual green power usage of 73.8 million kilowatt hours equates to a reduction of over 41,000 metric tons of CO2, or the equivalent of taking approximately 8,100 cars off the road. The region has purchased over 923 million kilowatt hours of renewable power since 2001.