The U.S. government has come a long way since Ronald Reagan had Jimmy Carter’s solar panels removed from the White House when he took office. In fact, according to a recent statement from General Services Administrator Martha Johnson, the General Services Administration (GSA) has committed itself to working towards a federal government with “a zero environmental footprint. ”
Johnson went on to state that American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds will be responsible for the greening of 218 federal building construction projects this summer–focused on sustainable construction, energy generation, retrofitting and modernization–as opposed to 55 such projects at this time last year, inspiring the term “Recovery Summer.”
A particular focus of GSA-administrated ARRA funds has been solar energy. According to Johnson, solar power arrays installed at dozens of Federal buildings nationwide through the Recovery Act have increased the agency’s solar power generation by 550%. By Labor Day, the General Services Administration will be putting contractors to work on 31 new solar energy projects expected to 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. “This summer will be the most active season of Recovery Act projects yet,” said Johnson, in a statement.