The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the General Services Administration (GSA) have joined forces to promote the Federal Green Challenge Initiative at East Coast federal facilities.
The initiative is a voluntary program designed to help federal agencies improve operating efficiency and reduce their environmental footprint. GSA’s goal is to reduce the environmental footprint of federal facilities by at least 5% annually in a minimum of two of the following areas: waste, electronics, purchasing, transportation, water and energy.
The initiative being championed by EPA and GSA supports the Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance. By joining, federal facilities will receive hands-on technical support, purchasing and facility management assistance from EPA and GSA. Other federal agencies in the region are encouraged to join the program by Dec. 5, 2011.
Buildings use a lot of energy. Nearly 20% of the energy consumed in the U.S., at a cost of more than $100 billion a year, occurs in buildings other than houses. Further, nearly a third of that energy goes to waste.
Energy Star was started by EPA in 1992 as a market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Today, the Energy Star label can be found on more than 60 products as well as new homes and commercial and industrial buildings that meet strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the EPA.
Last year alone, Americans saved $18 billion on their energy bills while reducing the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 33 million vehicles.