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Agencies coming up short on green gov goals

Feb. 7, 2013 - 04:11PM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
Building 4400 at Alabama's Redstone Arsenal is a recent addition to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. The building includes the Army Materiel Command and Army Security Assistance Command headquarters.
Building 4400 at Alabama's Redstone Arsenal is a recent addition to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. The building includes the Army Materiel Command and Army Security Assistance Command headquarters. (Army)

Many agencies are missing targets for meeting energy efficiency and sustainability mandates, citing tighter budgets.

The Defense Department said in a new report that it will not likely reduce energy use at its facilities by 30 percent from a 2003 baseline by 2015. It said it achieved only a 13 percent reduction in 2011. DoD was one of many agencies that filed updates on their sustainability efforts with the Office of Management and Budget. OMB released those reports Thursday.

DoD said it also will fail to meet a goal to have 15 percent of its buildings meet federal green guidelines. Newly constructed buildings must use 30 percent less energy than a typical building of the same size. Renovated buildings must use 20 percent less energy.

Only about one-tenth of 1 percent of the department’s buildings meet green guidelines.

The report said that the Defense Department renovates and maintains facilities in a “budget-constrained” environment by fixing buildings with the greatest needs — not in making buildings more environmentally sustainable.

The Department of Homeland Security reduced facility energy use by 14 percent in 2011 — but that is less than halfway to the 30 percent goal. Only 2 percent of DHS’ buildings meet green guidelines.

The Health and Human Services Department is seeing mixed results, with only 4 percent of its buildings meeting green guidelines but achieving a 19 percent reduction in facility energy use in 2011.

But the General Services Administration is on track or exceeding all of its goals, according to the agency’s report. More than 8 percent of its buildings meet green guidelines and it has reduced energy use at its facilities by 19 percent as of 2011.

Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said in a news release that agencies are seeing positive results after three years of effort.

“Agencies are demonstrating significant progress on sustainability initiatives that are good for American taxpayers and good for American communities,” Sutley said.

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