GSA Ready to Assist in Economic Recovery

James Williams' Common Cents Administrator Column LogoOur nation’s economy is in a crisis of a severity not seen since the Great Depression. In the face of this crisis, we at the U.S. General Services Administration look forward to being a part of the solution.

We can help get people back to work.

We can help stimulate the economy by getting money flowing to the building industries – to construction workers, electricians, plumbers, air conditioning mechanics, carpenters, architects, engineers, etc.

GSA is one of the largest and most diversified public real estate organizations in the world. Our inventory consists of more than 8,600 assets, with nearly 354 million square feet of rentable space nationwide and in six U.S. territories. Our portfolio is primarily office buildings, courthouses, land ports of entry, and warehouses.

By investing in our backlog of well-planned, worthy and needed infrastructure projects, GSA can help stimulate jobs in the construction and real estate sectors, while stimulating long-term growth in energy-efficient technologies, alternative energy solutions and green buildings.

As part of our portfolio management work and in preparation for receiving reinvestment funding, we are evaluating construction projects. We have several criteria, the two most important being how fast we can create jobs by getting shovels in the ground and how much added energy-efficiency and sustainability we can gain from projects ready for construction awards within two years.

Energy/Green Building

We are looking for every opportunity to optimize our reinvestment funds by increasing building performance and reducing our dependence on fossil fuel. These buildings will not only be high performing; they will also enable the federal workforce to perform at the highest level.

Many improvements are simple: adding thicker insulation than required by the newest energy codes; converting parking structure lighting to LED, or light-emitting diode, which dramatically lowers energy consumption; retrofitting or replacing less-efficient windows; and specifying dual flush toilets and waterless or low water urinals.

Getting the Work Done

Our role in the economic recovery presents a unique opportunity for us to explore new and faster ways of working. GSA will form a nationally managed, regionally executed Program Management Office dedicated to managing reinvestment funded projects. In all cases, throughout the execution of proposed reinvestment related work, GSA will seek competition within the marketplace, strive to maintain outreach and support to businesses within defined socio-economic categories, place a priority on energy conservation/energy efficiency, and seek consistency in national implementation.

GSA also will hire contractors to provide support in such areas as data tracking and reporting, scheduling and budgeting, energy performance reviews, design services, construction contracting and project management.

We want to make sure that the buildings designed to perform better actually do perform better once they are renovated or built. As a result, we are developing the means to measure, in greater detail, energy performance in all the buildings improved by the stimulus investment. We already have solid baseline energy consumption numbers and will be able to detail both energy savings and cost avoidance.

GSA will launch and manage Recovery.gov, the official web site of the federal government that will report the progress on the reinvestment funding to the American public. We welcome this assignment and fully support the transparency that will help ensure that citizens can see how the funds are being spent.

GSA is ready to undertake this challenge, and we look forward to carrying out our role in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Paul F. Prouty is Acting Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration, (2/09)

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