Back in 2009 President Obama signed an executive order requiring federal agencies to “develop, implement and annually update a plan that prioritizes sustainability actions based on a positive return on investment for the American taxpayer.” The stated goal of this was to meet energy, water, and waste reduction targets that will save taxpayer dollars, create clean energy jobs, and reduce pollution. Those plans have now come due, and the White House has posted them up for the public to see.
These Federal Agency Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans, as they are being called, target a federal infrastructure that consists of nearly 500,000 buildings, operates more than 600,000 vehicles, employs more than 1.8 million civilians, and purchases more than $500 billion per year in goods and services. In terms of energy use, the government in 2008 spent more than $24.5 billion on electricity and fuel needs alone. There is obviously a lot of sustainability work that needs to be done here.
The range of agencies which have released sustainability plans stretches from cabinet level groups such as the U.S. Department of Justice on down to lesser known ones such as the Railroad Retirement Board. It is been decided that these plans, besides being available online, will be required to be updated annually and reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget. With the addition of other energy efficiency items under this executive order, it is said there will be a cumulative reduction of 101 million metric tons of CO2 emissions equivalent to the emissions from 235 million barrels of oil.