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Agencies falling short of green standards

Jun. 18, 2012 - 02:27PM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said in a news release that agencies must stay focused to meet sustainability mandates.
Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said in a news release that agencies must stay focused to meet sustainability mandates. (Thomas Brown / Staff)

Agencies are struggling to renovate their existing buildings or build new ones to meet green standards, according to scorecards released by the Office of Management and Budget Friday.

The Defense Department had to have 7 percent or more of its buildings rated “green” last year — but only 0.3 percent are.

To be considered green, a newly constructed building must use 30 percent less energy than a typical building of the same size. Renovated buildings must use 20 percent less energy. Also, buildings considered green must meet certain standards for water efficiency, recycling, indoor air quality and low-emission paints and sealants, among other things.

Other agencies are also falling short of the mandate to have 7 percent of their building inventories meet green goals:

• Interior Department: 1.0 percent.

• Energy Department: 1.6 percent.

• Department of Homeland Security, 2.2 percent.

• Treasury Department: 5.6 percent.

• NASA: 6.7 percent.

A few agencies met the goal, including the General Services Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.

By fiscal 2015, agencies must have 15 percent of their facilities rated green.

Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said in a news release that agencies must stay focused to meet sustainability mandates.

“These scorecards provide agencies with a useful tool to keep focused on saving billions in energy costs over the next decade and help the federal government lead the nation by example,” she said.

Federal green efforts are expected to save $18 billion over the lifetime of various sustainability efforts, according to acting OMB director Jeffrey Zients.

Among results with other mandates:

• The Defense Department fell short of its goal to reduce energy consumption at its facilities by 18 percent by fiscal 2011 from a 2003 baseline. So far, it has achieved a 13.3 percent reduction.

• The Department of Homeland Security reached its goal to have at least 5 percent of its energy come from renewable sources, with 5.7 percent.

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