The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on December 5 released its 2013 Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan as it looks to build on four years of efforts to streamline operations, cut expenditures, and reduce waste and the carbon footprint of federal government operations.
The inaugural Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan for the federal government was produced in October 2009 in the wake of President Obama issuing Executive Order 13514 on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, which set “aggressive targets for reducing waste and pollution in Federal operations by 2020,” according to an EPA press release.
The Federal government's Green Economy leadership
Strengthening the federal government's leadership in forging a “greener,” more dynamic economic model, the President this past June launched the nation's first Climate Action Plan.
Coincident with the release of EPA's 2013 Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan, the President on December 5 issued a Presidential Memorandum that further reduces federal government waste and pollution by setting a target of more than doubling the amount of renewable energy consumed to 20% by 2020.
The 2013 Strategic Sustainability Plan adds impetus to and seeks to realize the aims of these initiatives, providing “an overview of how the agency is saving taxpayer dollars, reducing carbon emissions, and saving energy.
“Meeting this renewable energy goal will reduce pollution in our communities, promote American energy independence, and support homegrown energy produced by American workers,” the EPA stated.
As the EPA highlighted, in just the past four years, the Obama Administration's waste, energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives have:
- Reduced energy use by almost 8 percent; allowing EPA to avoid $1.5 million in utility costs annually. Compared to the 2003 baseline, EPA has reduced energy by more than 25 percent
- Used renewable energy and purchased Green Power Renewable Energy Credits equal to 100 percent of its conventional electricity use. Use of Green Power, coupled with energy conservation and fleet management efforts, reduce EPA Scope 1 and 2 Greenhouse Gas emissions by nearly half from FY 2008 levels.
- Reduced annual water use by more than 25 percent – that’s more than 30 million gallons per year.
The principal goals the EPA aims to achieve in the 2013 Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan include:
- Pursuing reconstruction of key EPA research infrastructure. Projects completed at the Cincinnati, OH, A.W. Breidenbach Environmental Research Center, EPA’s second largest research center, have already reduced energy use by more than 30 percent.
- Consolidating the Research Toxicology Laboratory in Durham, NC into the Main laboratory at Research Triangle Park, NC. This project will reduce agency rent costs, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and result in a net reduction in EPA space without impacting research capacity.
- Continuing work on EPA’s award winning water conservation program.
The EPA has published Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans for federal agencies online.