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Greening the Government, One Agency at a Time

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According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more than $10 billion is spent on energy by government agencies each year. To lessen those dollars the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is leading by example, in alignment with President Obama’s sustainability agenda. GSA has succeeded in lowering energy costs using BA-55 energy funding to install more energy efficient building equipment and promote agency-wide sustainability goals. Some of GSA’s initiatives that support these goals include electronic stewardship, alternative fuel vehicles, alternative energy sources, sustainable buildings, pollution prevention, recycling and education initiatives.

GSA is devoted to improving agency environmental performance, while delivering efficient and effective services to other valued customer agencies. Customer Intimacy, one of GSA’s three strategic themes is fostered through, “creating strategic partnerships with industry and with other Federal agencies to develop new and innovative tools for more effective Government.”

In partnership with GSA’s customer of the year, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), GSA has aided the agency in modernizing and renovating building space. Remaining true to the goals set forth, GSA is assisting the FAA with implementing and planning several conservation projects in the Orville and Wilbur Wright buildings.

The energy conservation methods included changes to lighting controls, cooling and heating systems, water conservation efforts, and a brand new energy management system. Modifications to lighting include replacing nearly 18,000 fluorescent lamps that offer lower wattage while providing the same or better lighting. Solar Hot Water Panels will be installed to provide supplemental hot water and reduction to the steam demand. New cooling towers have been put into place. Their purpose is to reject the heat from the building to the outside. Aside from the cooling towers, a 700-ton plate and frame heat exchange will provide free cooling for the building in the winter without using the building’s chillers.

To date, the FAA has succeeded in lowering energy costs by an estimated grand total of more than $1 million. Electricity savings are calculated by electricity, steam and water usage. With the help and planning of GSA and leadership of the FAA, other agencies can foster change and take steps in moving forward with a greener government.