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Bibb Says GSA Well-Equipped to Help Agencies Meet "Green" Goals

Remarks by
David l. Bibb
Deputy Administrator
U.S. General Services Administration
EO 13423 Senior Agency Officials Meeting
EEOB, Washington, DC
February 7, 2008


During a recent snowstorm that paralyzed much of New England, GSA’s regional employees remained safe, dry and productive. That’s because 76 percent of them regularly telework.

In working from alternative sites, they routinely: use less fuel, help cut greenhouse gas emissions, and ensure that we’re prepared to continue operations in times of crisis. In fact, my boss, Administrator Lurita Doan, has challenged GSA to have half of our eligible workforce nationwide teleworking regularly by 2010.

I tell you this because on telework and GSA’s other key environmental initiatives, Administrator Doan wants us walking the walk, not just talking the talk. The telework challenge is obviously very important – the implications for our nation are enormous -- but it’s the tip of the iceberg when it comes to helping our sister agencies meet the goals of Executive Order 13423.

GSA’s focus on the environment is not new.  We have, for example, been a longtime leader in incorporating principles of sustainable design and energy efficiency in our building projects. As the government’s premier procurement agency, we offer green goods and services.  We’re making their procurement easier and easier. And we have for many years helped agencies with energy-efficient, cost-effective recycling programs. At this moment, GSA recycling programs are serving more than 650,000 government employees and contractors in more than 1,100 government-owned and leased buildings.

We take our environmental responsibilities seriously. This naturally includes assisting the other agencies, and, by extension, the entire nation. For when you strip this issue to its core, what we’re really talking about is the sustainability of America’s and our world’s environment and precious natural resources. This is a duty that befalls the leaders of each generation. Remember, GSA was created to provide goods, services and workspace to federal agencies at best value.  This is what we do every day. And that is why Administrator Doan and I, as GSA’s Chief Environmental Official, believe we’re in a unique position to make a real difference.

As one example, we’ve begun the process of incorporating green requirements into our contracts.  We have a major environmental operational project underway to implement the Energy Policy Act, Section 104, within FAS.  Section 104 directs agencies to purchase Energy Star and FEMP-designated products, and instructs GSA to clearly identify and display them in our catalogs. Our plan includes a host of actions and milestones aimed at elevating the presence of energy efficient products in our inventory as well as implementing systems improvements to GSA’s e-tools. 

As we know, E0 13423 and the new Energy Act of 2007 call upon agencies to:

  • reduce energy and water consumption;
  • purchase renewable energy;
  • purchase bio-based and recycled products;
  • support waste management practices;
  • encourage sustainable practices in buildings;
  • use alternative fuel vehicles; and
  • and purchase environmentally friendly electronics.

GSA’s job is to get all of us there in a shiny new hybrid. That is, we will help you meet your environmental obligations by providing responsible choices. 

Falling under this umbrella are:

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

In an organic nutshell, we have lots to offer. There isn’t time today for the full infomercial, but let me mention a few specifics:

Procurement of Green Products and Services:

  • GSA helps federal agencies buy recycled content, energy efficient, and CPG (comprehensive procurement guideline) products. Buy Energy Star and other energy efficient products as well as safer paints, chemicals, and furniture.
  • Let me throw in here that we heard the frustrations associated with locating green products under our major acquisition programs. And we’ve done something about it. What we’ve done is create an environmental specialty category on our two online purchasing systems—Advantage! And GSA Global Supply system. 

- From waste management services to hazardous material management to NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) analysis, GSA offers streamlined contracting vehicles to help agencies meet their environmental needs.

- This year, we also introduced green requirements to our post-award evaluation process.  GSA industry partners are now evaluated on how well they identify products that contain environmental attributes.  This is significant. It sends a strong message to our more than 18,000 industry partners that we are serious about our role as environmental stewards.  This action provides us with a means for communicating federal green purchase requirements.  More important, with the assistance from our industry partners, this action should result in an increase in the accuracy of products that receive an environmental designation.

- GSA helps federal agencies maintain cost-effective waste prevention and recycling programs including waste reuse and recycling, construction waste management, disposal of excess inventory, and more.

Vehicles & Fuel

- GSA helps agencies reduce petroleum consumption by offering alternative fuel vehicles (AFVS) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVS) to assist in meeting agency acquisition and leasing needs.

Let me mention that GSA automotive has worked with the park service to procure alternative fueled mass transportation systems.  One goal is to enhance the quality of the visitor experience by reducing vehicle congestion and pollution.  As part of the program, we’ve delivered:

  • 18 diesel electric hybrid low floor shuttle buses to Yosemite National Park;
  • 22 diesel shuttle buses to Glacier National Park;
  • 19 compressed natural gas powered low floor shuttle buses are headed for the Grand Canyon.
  • and GSA Fleet is currently working with the Smithsonian to purchase 3 hybrid shuttle buses for use in the Washington, DC area. 

Renewable Energy

Sustainable design improves building performance by reducing consumption of non-renewable resources, minimizing waste, and creating healthy, comfortable, productive environments.

- GSA procured wind energy for the national park service so the statue of liberty is entirely powered by renewable energy;

- As well, using GSA’s energy procurement expertise and with leasing authority, the Sun Power Corp. is building a 15 megawatt (mw) PV Project at Nellis Air Force Base that will be the largest PV system in North America;

- In 2007, we purchased over 127 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy for other agencies space.

Energy Conservation

- GSA’s environmental policies promote safety, health, and reduce harm to the environment. GSA sponsored telework centers promote the environment by easing commuter traffic.

- As mentioned earlier, as time marches on, we expect more and more people to work from home and at alternate locations. That’s why GSA has enhanced its skill and expertise in designing workplaces that accommodate the modern move to mobile work. Our total workplace solutions incorporate the technology and management changes that facilitate flexible work arrangements.  The potential for cost savings just enhances the environmental benefit.

- On a related front, GSA building management reduces damage to the environment, maintains clean and efficient workplaces, minimizes waste, and conserves energy and water.

- Working with tenants in the Duncan Federal Building in Kentucky, we helped identify changes in operating hours that saved the agency 50% of its “overtime” utility bill.

Before I end, I’ve got one more word for you: Anaheim.

Anaheim is home to Mickey, Minnie and the rest of the Disneyland crew. This year, it will also be home to the 14th annual GSA Expo … 6,000 attendees … more than 300 federal agencies … more than 600 commercial companies. Besides showcasing our “green” offerings, the Expo will feature more than 600 exhibitors and vendors, including those that qualify for the Energy Star Starlight and energy programs. GSA Expo also offers the government’s most comprehensive training programs.

I would like to invite the Senior Officials here today to come to this year’s Expo. The dates are April 22nd to the 24th I’d also like to ask for volunteers to be part of a panel on how we can further our nation’s environmental agenda …

Okay, if the public speaking experts are right, by dinnertime, I’ll be lucky if you remember one message from my remarks today. I can live with that, so long as this is the message:

GSA is excited about helping you achieve your environmental goals, and we have the passion, expertise, products and services to get the job done. The Executive Order is a challenge, but also an opportunity. Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.” At GSA, we like the look of overalls, and we’re eager for the hard work that lies ahead.

Thank you very much.