GSA Officials Lend Sustainability Expertise to GreenGov Symposium

GSA officials brought their expertise to bear at the 2010 GreenGov Symposium, where they championed the agency’s commitment to lead the federal government toward environmental sustainability.

The three-day symposium in Washington, D.C., focused on the performance goals set by President Barack Obama in a 2009 executive order that charged the federal government to lead by example in reducing energy consumption and eliminating waste, while expanding the use of alternative forms of clean energy.

GSA began working on this goal in earnest. Billions of dollars from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act over the past year has enabled GSA to create green jobs, spur the growth of innovative energy-saving technologies such as solar power, transform old federal offices into high-performance green buildings, and add a plethora of hybrid vehicles to the federal fleet.

Because of GSA’s influence on the entire government supply chain, the agency has started to work with federal contractors to measure and manage their carbon footprints.
GSA has also developed a carbon footprint tool that allows federal agencies to calculate their greenhouse gas emissions.

"As the federal government's acquisition solutions expert, GSA has a powerful role to play in driving sustainability throughout agency purchasing strategies,” said GSA Senior Sustainability Officer Steve Leeds. “This is in line with our aggressive commitment to achieve a zero environmental footprint goal.”

GSA will look to its business partners to measure emissions, which will ultimately help vendors drive down operating costs and prices by eliminating waste and improving efficiency, Leeds said.

“We are maintaining our commitment to a phased, incentive-based approach to greening GSA's supply chain,” said Emile Monette, director of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service’s Program Analysis Division. “We are partnering with industry and our agency customers to incorporate environmental sustainability into GSA's acquisition practices.”

Another area where GSA brought substantial expertise to the symposium was in its institutional knowledge of green building innovation.

Robert Peck, commissioner of GSA's Public Buildings Service, said GSA’s commitment to effective innovation has made the agency a green proving ground.

"Our promise is to provide agencies and federal workers with sustainable, creative, productive, and healthy workplaces,” Peck said. “In over 2,000 American communities where there is a GSA-supported federal presence, we seek to be good neighbors, reduce the federal carbon footprint, and lead the way in sustainable design."

The symposium was organized by the White House Council on Environmental Quality and hosted by The George Washington University, Oct. 5-7, 2010.

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