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Peck Says GSA Recovery Act Funded Projects Create Jobs and Green Cities

As prepared for delivery

Remarks by
Robert Peck
PBS Commissioner
U.S. General Services Administration
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Project Kickoff
Seattle, WA
July 8, 2010

Congressman McDermott, Colonel Wright and, of course George [Northcroft], I am delighted to join you today. I’m proud to be here on behalf of the Obama Administration—this is a significant occasion and we are proud of GSA’s role in making this new facility a reality.

A year and a half ago, GSA was given tremendous responsibility under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act to help stimulate the economy, and over the past months has invested over $4 billion in green building modernizations, putting over 500 companies to work on green building projects, more than double the number a year ago.

Here in Washington State, we’ve seen more than 6 billion in total Recovery Act funding, and to date, that money has helped save or create more than 15,000 jobs.

As part of this federal effort, GSA has committed its funds to create a more sustainable and better-performing federal building portfolio.

This includes what we’re calling GSA’s Solar Summer: a swift and aggressive push to get Americans back to work in long-lasting, green-collar sectors like solar energy by significantly ramping up our solar installation projects countrywide. By Labor Day, GSA will put people to work building 31 solar energy projects that will generate a total of 12 megawatts of renewable solar power capacity – enough to power 1,600 homes, and equivalent to removing 2,500 cars from the road.

In fact, we have a Recovery Act solar project at Building 1201 here at the Federal Center South Complex. We are currently installing a new energy-efficient roof with a photovoltaic array covering approximately 80 percent of the roof area or 60,000 square feet. This array will generate approximately $20,000 worth of electricity each year with a corresponding reduction in our dependence on fossil fuels.

It is also noteworthy that in addition to this project, GSA has three other Recovery Act projects in Seattle:

  • Replacing outmoded building systems with energy-efficient upgrades at the Jackson Federal Building;
  • Upgrading heating/ventilation and air-conditioning systems at the Federal Office Building; and
  • Upgrading the lighting at the US Courthouse.

In the case of the new Corps of Engineers Building, it will include:

  • Extensive use of natural daylight;
  • Conversion of existing hardscape into low impact sustainable green space;
  • Use of recycled timbers and other building materials; and
  • An energy-efficient HVAC system utilizing under-floor air distribution.
  • Minimize non-renewable energy consumption;
  • Use environmentally preferable products;
  • Protect and conserve water;
  • Enhance indoor environmental quality; and
  • Optimize operational and maintenance practices.

Based on these and other sustainable elements, this project holds the promise of receiving LEED Gold certification.

I also have to mention that this facility is part of our Design Excellence Program, which establishes nationwide policies and procedures for selecting the finest and most appropriate architects and artists for GSA commissions. Certainly, the design produced by ZGF Architects and Sellen Construction of Seattle has successfully integrated this new structure into the natural environment along the Duwamish River.

In the design of the new Corps of Engineers building, we have succeeded in meeting a broad spectrum of objectives. This is especially fitting given the critical water resources and other environmental and engineering responsibilities performed by the biologists, engineers, hydrologists, natural resource managers and other professionals who work for the Corps.

Congratulations to everyone who participated in bringing this project to today’s milestone and congratulations to the employees of the Corps of Engineers and the residents of Washington State who will be the real beneficiaries.

This summer will be the most active Recovery Act season yet, and we will see a significant spike in the rolling out of transportation, housing, and energy projects nationwide. In the past year, the construction industry has seen its biggest increase in the last decade, but when it comes to Recovery Act projects, the best is yet to come. Thank you.

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