Energy Diet For New England Federal Buildings

Will the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) succeed in its goal to reduce the environmental footprint of New England federal facilities by at least 5 percent every year in two areas of operations? With a little help from the Environmental Protection Agency, the likely answer seems to be “yes.”

The two federal agencies are teaming up in the Northeast to promote the Federal Green Challenge Initiative, which calls for measured eco-improvements in the following areas of operations:  waste, electronics, purchasing, transportation, water and energy. The initiative is a voluntary program designed to help federal agencies improve operating efficiency at facilties and reduce their environmental footprint, supporting President Barack Obama’s executive order on “Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance.”

view from EPA Boston headquarters green roof

image via EPA

By joining the initiative, federal facilities in New England will receive hands-on technical support and purchasing and facility management assistance from EPA and GSA.  Federal agencies in the region have been encouraged to join the program by December 5.

Apparently, the GSA and EPA aren’t simply talking the talk, either; a recent release touts the efficiencies embodied by the EPA’s new headquarters building in Boston. During a 2009 renovation, this former post office building was designed to improve energy efficiency through strategic insulation; double-paned, low-e windows; daylight harvesting; lighting upgrades with motion sensors and daylight dimmers; variable speed drives for fans and pumps; and high efficiency chillers.  The building’s energy operations have earned an Energy Star label with an energy efficiency rating of 75 and LEED Gold certification.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.