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Agencies struggling to make buildings 'green'

May. 31, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
By | By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments

Agencies are struggling to make their building portfolios more environmentally sustainable, according to scorecards for fiscal 2012 released Friday by the Office of Management and Budget.

Only six out of 24 agencies are on track to make 15 percent of their buildings “green” by 2015. To meet green guidelines, newly constructed buildings must use 30 percent less energy than a typical building of the same size and renovated buildings must use 20 percent less energy.

Only 0.03 percent of Defense Department buildings meet the guidelines, making its facilities one of the greatest sustainability challenges facing the department, according to a statement released Friday. DoD issued stricter criteria for facility planning in 2012 to help military facilities meet the goals, according to the department.

But 20 of 24 agencies are on track to meet goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The White House goal is for the government overall to reduce direct emissions — such as those generated by federal cars and buildings — by 28 percent below 2008 levels

Another benchmark, set by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, requires agencies to reduce energy use in their facilities by 30 percent from a 2003 baseline by 2015.

The Defense Department, for one, remains far short of that goal. It has has reduced facility energy usage by almost 18 percent from the 2003 baseline.

Two agencies, the General Services Administration and Environmental Protection Agencv, are on track to meet all seven sustainability goals measured by the scorecard.

GSA has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 36.5 percent below the 2008 baseline and reduced the energy use in its buildings by nearly 25 percent from the 2003 baseline.

“Going green saves green, and at a time of shrinking budgets GSA remains committed to helping government cut costs by increasing sustainability,” acting GSA administrator Dan Tangherlini said in a news release.

He said the agency is positioned to help other agencies meet their goals by providing technology and services that promote efficiency.

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