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Deputy Administrator Bibb Highlights Green at NCR Customer Conference

As prepared for delivery


Remarks by
David L. Bibb
Deputy Administrator
U.S. General Services Administration
NCR 2007 Customer Connection
 May 23, 2007

 

Thank you, Ann, for that very kind introduction.

Good afternoon, everyone.  What a terrific turnout --  we have over 70 organizations represented here today. I’d like to add my welcome and thank you all for coming.  I’d like to thank Ann Everett and our National Capital Region for hosting the 2007 Customer Connection.  This event offers our customers a great venue to discuss their workplace needs with our experts, who I’m sure are providing some innovative and cost-effective solutions for you.

It also gives me a chance to talk about something that’s very important to me as a GSA official, as an American, and as an individual who’s enjoyed and, frankly, marveled at our nation’s precious natural resources since I was a boy growing up in Clarksville, Tennessee.

I joined GSA as an intern in 1971. Over the years I’ve worked in a few different offices and worn a lot of different hats. I just added a new one to my collection, one that I’m very excited about. I’m now GSA’s Senior Environmental Official, in charge of our efforts to help federal agencies comply with President Bush’s most recent Environmental Executive Order. (Strengthening federal environmental, energy, and transportation management).

This is a mission I gladly accept from Administrator Doan, and one that GSA – through our Public Buildings Service and Federal Acquisition Service -- is well-positioned to execute. As the government’s premier federal procurement agency, GSA provides buildings with sustainable design and helps agencies buy environmentally friendly services and products. Our multiple award schedules offer a list of businesses approved to sell federal agencies everything from environmental assessments and energy management programs to recycled paper, energy-efficient lighting, paints, chemicals, and pollution-prevention systems. We also help agencies reduce petroleum consumption by offering alternative fuel vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles for lease and purchase.

You may know that GSA also requires all new construction projects and major renovations to meet or exceed target set by the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system. Some of you here today may already be occupying LEED “gold” buildings.  This is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.  GSA was the first federal USGBC member.

We take all of these environmental responsibilities seriously. We not only want to help other federal agencies, but also to strengthen our own environmental commitment. We’re proud of the resources we contribute to improving the environment in our cities and elsewhere throughout the nation.

Let me talk a little more about:

  • Our offerings of environmentally responsible products and services;
  • Our leadership in energy efficient, green buildings;
  • And our governmentwide telework initiative, including our telework centers, which relieve federal employees from daily traffic snarls and also reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Offerings

GSA’s mission includes helping our client agencies meet their environmental obligations by providing responsible choices. Our services and offerings include:

  • the construction and leasing of energy efficient, sustainable-designed buildings;
  • the procurement of renewable utility services;
  • a selection of the latest alternative fuel vehicles
  • a wide range of environmentally preferable office and other products;
  • and, as I mentioned, environmentally friendly telework and other alternative workplace arrangements.

In addition to helping other agencies meet their environmental goals, GSA is making a concerted effort to lead by example. For instance,

- Between 1985 and 2005, GSA achieved the 30 percent reduction in energy consumption target set by the 1992 energy policy act. 
- We operate our buildings at costs that are 5 percent below comparable buildings in the private sector.
- We pay 12 percent less for utilities.  By the end of fiscal  2006, GSA reduced the overall energy consumption of its inventory by 4.7 percent compared to 2003. 
- Of the energy used in buildings today, nearly 30 percent is consumed for lighting and office equipment. During the early 1990’s, we extensively retrofitted existing buildings with new energy efficient lighting systems. We met our early goal of 20 percent energy reduction between 1985 and 2000 primarily through these retrofits.

Renewable Energy

  • GSA is a national leader in the purchase and use of renewable power from utility companies. We continue to explore opportunities for installing solar and other on-site generated renewable energy technologies as part of our building design and retrofit programs.
  • In 2006, 4.5 percent of our electricity was generated from renewable sources or bought through renewable energy certificates, compared with a national average of 2.3 percent.
  • Over the last four years, GSA has purchased almost 1 million megawatt hours of energy from renewable sources through competitive power contracts and through the use of green power programs offered by local distribution companies.  This is enough energy to power 77,057 households for one year.  It is also about the same as the total electric use in FY 2006 for regions 11 and 2 combined.
  • GSA is also incorporating solar and other on-site generated renewable energy technologies in our design and retrofit programs.  In fiscal 2006, GSA used about 3.3 billion BTU’s in energy from self-generated renewable projects.  That is enough BTU’s to power 78 households for one year.  Sources of that energy include:
  • GSA’s 12 solar photovoltaic installations,
  • GSA’s two solar thermal projects, 
  • One completed geothermal project. 

Integrating Sustainable Design

Sustainable design, or green buildings, is a holistic, integrated approach to building, modernizing and operating buildings that seeks to balance cost, environmental, social, and human benefits with the mission and functional needs of the customer agency. 

  • GSA has earned a LEED rating for 19 buildings to date:  nine are government-owned buildings; 10 are build-to-suit leased buildings.  Of these, five achieved “silver,” and eight achieved “gold.” 
  • GSA has registered another 70 buildings under the LEED system; upon project completion, these will be eligible for certification. 
  • GSA integrates sustainable design principles as seamlessly as possible into the design and construction of our buildings and build-to-suit leases through our design excellence program.
  • We involve team members from a wide range of disciplines to dramatically reduce energy consumption.
  • Our goals are to improve the quality of the work environment and create more productive, healthier workplaces and drive down long-term energy and maintenance expenses.
  • GSA has incorporated green (planted) roofs in some of our projects.  These roofs range from small tray systems to entire garden roofs. They reduce energy costs by insulating the building and reducing the “heat island” effect produced by large buildings in urban areas.  Green roofs also capture rainwater, which serves to reduce water runoff into sewer drains.

Telework

  • GSA leads the development of alternative workplace arrangements for the federal community and, along with OPM, is a co-lead agency for federal telework.
  • We established a no-cost trial of the GSA centers in response to President Bush's request for agencies to find ways to decrease energy use.
  • Based on data from the 14 centers, we estimate that these teleworkers saved nearly 2.8 million travel miles, which, in turn, saved almost 115 thousand gallons of fuel which is equivalent to 202,112 tons of waste recycled instead of landfilled.  In addition, 2.3 million pounds of emissions were kept from being released into our atmosphere. 
  • Not only do our telework centers offer federal employees relief from the daily stress of rush hour traffic, they also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 
  • GSA will continue to work with its customers to promote telework and alternative workplace programs.
  • Home telework is even more important as FAS & PBS include it in their routine planning to conserve energy by occupying less space and using less electricity and lighting in their buildings.

Future Directions

  • As energy use generally peaks in the late afternoon, we try to quickly reduce the major consumer of electricity in our buildings: lights.  We’re looking at sophisticated systems that reduce illumination levels significantly enough to reduce total building demand and still leave plenty of light for folks to do their work.
  • The energy policy act directs us to install advanced metering.  We’ll be doing that over the next few years, conditional on funding.  We started installing advanced meters in the Washington, D.C. and New York areas.  In the long run, advanced meters will save money by allowing us to manage power consumption more strategically.
  • GSA is also exploring ways to reduce our dependence on the existing energy grid.  Combined heat and power systems can be a source of both energy security and savings.  The Food and Drug Administration Office in White Oak, Maryland is a great case study.  Using an energy saving performance contract to install a heating plant facility as part of the first phase of the campus build-out, we saved more than $1.4 million annually in energy costs and $2.1 million in annual operation and maintenance costs (FY 2003 data).  The plant provides reliable, uninterrupted on-site electric generation capability for three facilities on campus—a laboratory, an office building and a multi-use facility.  Heat is recovered from the generating process to produce hot water and in the absorption process to produce chilled water for air conditioning. 

Conclusion

I’m going to stop there, but please note that for more information on many GSA’s environmental resources, you can visit www.gsa.gov/green.

My overarching message is this: green is a priority at GSA. Whether it’s sophisticated lighting systems, wind power, or telework, we’re fully committed to the goals of the energy policy act and the President’s Executive Order.

As Deputy Administrator and GSA’s Chief Environmental Official, I’m very pleased that we have a talented, creative and innovative workforce, as well as the resources to help our client agencies – and our nation – become more conscientious stewards of our air, land and water.

Thank you very much.