GSA’s progress in greening government through the Inflation Reduction Act
With the signing of the Inflation Reduction Act one year ago, GSA hasn’t wasted a moment in putting its $3.4 billion toward greening the federal footprint.
The agency is driving to reduce carbon emissions from federal buildings by buying cleaner materials, reducing dependence on fossil fuel equipment, investing in emerging clean energy technologies, and more.
These efforts are crucial to reaching ambitious goals, such as 100 percent carbon-pollution-free electricity in all federal buildings by 2030 and net-zero federal building emissions by 2045.
“This is an all-hands-on-deck moment,” said Administrator Robin Carnahan at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in November, specifying that no IRA funds will be used to install fossil-fuel based equipment. “And, because of the Inflation Reduction Act, we have the momentum and the money to make it happen.”
GSA’s Inflation Reduction Act funds will help make millions of square feet of federal real estate more sustainable and efficient. Here’s a sample of progress to date:
GSA plans to electrify more than 100 federal buildings in its portfolio and make 28 buildings achieve net zero emissions (in addition to the approximately 200 that are already all-electric). The massive Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, for example, plans to use $13.5 million IRA dollars toward fully electrifying the building that holds more than three million square feet of office space. Overall, the project is estimated to reduce energy use by over 40 percent, reduce emissions by nearly 16,000 tons, and avoid an estimated $6.3 million in energy costs annually.
- GSA announced a pilot of new requirements [PDF - 88 KB] for the procurement of substantially lower embodied-carbon construction materials. The requirements [PDF - 145 KB] were developed with market insights gathered from domestic manufacturers, local suppliers, small businesses, and environmental and labor groups.
In Arizona, GSA and their partners broke ground on the new San Luis Land Port of Entry – a vital gateway for agriculture along the southwest border. $100 million from the Inflation Reduction Act is slated to incorporate low-embodied carbon materials and new clean energy technologies. The all-electric design, solar panels, and storage technologies are aiming to make this the first net-zero land port in the country.
In Texas and Louisiana, $9.6 million is planned to be used for two federal buildings to undergo “deep energy retrofits,” meaning at least a 40% reduction in emissions. One of those buildings is the largest consumer of energy among federal buildings in the region. The project will reduce energy consumption by an estimated 49%, supported by magnetic levitation chillers, building automation improvements, and high-efficiency transformers.
In Ohio, nearly $10 million is slated to upgrade building infrastructure and install new technologies that will reduce energy consumption and costs at four federal buildings in northern Ohio. These investments are estimated to save about $300,000 per year in energy costs and reduce emissions by about 1,600 metric tons annually.
- In Denver, GSA plans to invest $88 million in IRA funds to make 18 federal buildings more sustainable and all-electric. GSA plans to upgrade building infrastructure and install new technologies that will reduce energy consumption and costs. Looking forward, $79 million will be used to build an LEED Platinum, all-electric, high performance laboratory for the Food and Drug Administration. The project aims to be net zero through extensive use of solar panels. GSA is evaluating software controlled switch reluctance motors, a technology identified by GSA’s Green Proving Ground program, for this project.
- $30 million is slated to go toward quadrupling the number of emerging and sustainable technologies tested in the GPG program. The GPG uses GSA’s vast real estate portfolio to evaluate innovative building technologies in real-world settings.
Nearly $288 million is planned to be used to construct sustainable buildings that house two Department of Homeland Security agencies at the St. Elizabeths West Campus in Washington. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency headquarters’ project will use building materials that produce less greenhouse gasses, or low-embodied carbon materials. LED lighting, solar panels, air quality sensors, and irrigation systems that automatically measure water usage are just some of the green technologies being installed.