Tuesday, October 06, 2009

President's Signs Executive Order On Federal Sustainability

Oct 5: President Obama signed a new Executive Order on Federal Sustainability. The Executive Order (EO) challenges agencies to lead by example in energy and environmental performance and gives them 90 days to set a 2020 greenhouse reduction goal. It also sets targets for efficient, sustainable buildings, petroleum use reduction in fleets, water efficiency, waste reduction, purchasing green technologies and product, and supporting sustainable communities.

According to a blog post by Nancy Sutley, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), "By fulfilling the Executive Order, the Federal government will demonstrate that economic performance and a healthy environment go hand-in-hand. And by putting Federal purchasing power to work -- more than $500 billion per year in goods and services -- the government can build on the momentum of the Recovery Act to help turn good entrepreneurial ideas into great American enterprises that create jobs.

According to a release from the White House, the President said, "As the largest consumer of energy in the U.S. economy, the Federal government can and should lead by example when it comes to creating innovative ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency, conserve water, reduce waste, and use environmentally-responsible products and technologies. This Executive Order builds on the momentum of the Recovery Act to help create a clean energy economy and demonstrates the Federal government’s commitment, over and above what is already being done, to reducing emissions and saving money."

The Federal government occupies nearly 500,000 buildings, operates more than 600,000 vehicles, employs more than 1.8 million civilians, and purchases more than $500 billion per year in goods and services. The Executive Order builds on and expands the energy reduction and environmental requirements of Executive Order 13423 by making reductions of greenhouse gas emissions a priority of the Federal government, and by requiring agencies to develop sustainability plans focused on cost-effective projects and programs.

The new EO requires agencies to measure, manage, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions toward agency-defined targets. It describes a process by which agency goals will be set and reported to the President by the Chair of CEQ. The Executive Order also requires agencies to meet a number of energy, water, and waste reduction targets, including: 30% reduction in vehicle fleet petroleum use by 2020; 26% improvement in water efficiency by 2020; 50% recycling and waste diversion by 2015; 95% of all applicable contracts will meet sustainability requirements; Implementation of the 2030 net-zero-energy building requirement; Implementation of the stormwater provisions of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, section 438; and Development of guidance for sustainable Federal building locations in alignment with the Livability Principles put forward by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation, and U.S. EPA.

Access the White House blog post (
click here). Access the release from the White House (click here). Access the 15-page EO (click here).