Gov’t Leads the Way Toward Leaner, Greener U.S. Economy

hawaiisolar Leading by example in the drive to increase energy efficiency and realize the transition to a cleaner, greener economy and society, the Department of Interior released its 2012 Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan, on February 7, marking the latest step forward in making good on President Obama’s commitment to cutting waste, pollution, and costs in federal government operations.

The Greening of the U.S. Government

Key performance indicators reported in Interior’s 2012 Sustainability Plan include:

  • Decreasing certain greenhouse gas emissions by 6.5 percent in FY 2011 relative to the FY 2008 baseline—putting the department on track to meet the reduction target goal of 20 percent by 2020;
  • Reducing potable water intensity by 11.2 percent in 2011, relative to the FY 2007 baseline—putting Interior on track to meet the reduction target goal of 26 percent by 2020; and
  • Exceeding the FY 2011 goal for use of 5 percent of electricity from renewable sources.

Now open for a 60-day period of public comment, included in Interior’s Sustainability Plan for fiscal year 2013 is the Climate Change Adaptation Plan for FY 2013, “which outlines the initiatives to reduce the vulnerability of Interior’s programs, assets, and investments to the impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise or more frequent or severe extreme weather,” according to an Interior Department press release.

Also added to Interior’s Sustainability Plan for FY 2013 are “Fleet Management Plans” and “Bio-based Purchasing Strategies.”

In October 2009, President Obama signed, Executive Order 13514 on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance. The executive order established “aggressive targets for reducing waste and pollution in federal operations by 2020.”

Executive Order 13514 requires all federal agencies to submit sustainability plans to the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. The plans are updated annually, a process that facilitates prioritization of activities “that help to meet energy, water, and waste reduction goals based on a positive return on investment for the American taxpayer,” the Interior Department explains.

Building on three years of progress toward realizing the executive order’s goals, the Interior’s sustainability plan for 2013 “provides an overview of how the agency is saving taxpayer dollars, reducing carbon emissions, cutting waste and saving energy.”

As the department explains in its press release, the sustainability plan for FY 2013 “facilitates the Department of the Interior’s internal efforts in adapting natural and cultural resource management activities to changing conditions, avoiding or minimizing impacts to people and built assets, working with tribes in their adaptation efforts, and providing scientific information and tools to support the range of activities and programs we oversee in the face of climate change.”

Following are links to Interior’s latest Sustainability Performance and Climate Adaptation Plans and those from all Federal government agencies.

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One response

  1. It’s always great to read and hear about the US government’s continued commitment to sustainability. As the article points out, by increasing America’s energy efficiency, we also have the ability to improve our international economic and social status. In addition to the steps outlined in the Department of Interior’s 2012 Sustainability Plan, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020, the US government should also commit to cost-effective, environmentally-friendly initiatives. We should strive to combine economic and environmental prowess through solutions such as furniture asset management solutions, which include furniture refinishing, re-upholstery, and remanufacturing, in order to meet the demands of President Obama’s Executive Order quicker and more efficiently.

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