Sustainability in Action
Encompassing four of the sunniest states in the nation with state and/or federal commitments to energy efficiency, clean power and greening the supply chain, the Pacific Rim Region is at the forefront in implementing the Federal Government’s sustainability plan. We are:
- Generating enough clean power through photovoltaic solar arrays and co-generation mechanicals installed at federal buildings and Land Ports of Entry in the region to power 260 homes for a year with more installations coming online soon
- Rallying 63 regional agency heads representing 240,000 regional federal employees to commit to purchasing 100% post-consumer recycled paper as part of the EPA's Federal Green Challenge
- Achieving LEED certification with six of our facilities and another seven pending
- Lowering operating costs by 19%, energy use by 25%, and carbon dioxide emissions by 36% in our high-performance green buildings while boosting occupant satisfaction by 27%
- Creating $9.5 million to date in regional advanced lighting retrofits and other projects
- Going first with a 33% reduction in space for permanent seats at our regional headquarters while offering the latest technology to support the mobile worker
- Piloting the use of 56 plug-in electric vehicles, the lion's share of a national program allocation, and charging stations with customers in our region
- Managing e-Waste recycling collection at federal complexes in Nevada
- Working aggressively to ensure that more green products and services are on our GSA Schedules
Region 9 joins EPA in committing to 100% recycled copy paper
As part of their integrated strategy under the Federal Green Challenge, Region 9 GSA and EPA Regional Administrators, Ruth Cox and Jared Blumenfeld, rallied 63 agency heads, representing more than 240,000 regional federal employees, to exceed Executive Order 13514's mandatory use of 30 percent recycled copy paper by using only 100 percent recycled, chlorine-free paper. Using 100 percent recycled copy paper provides a number of tangible benefits to our environment. It conserves energy and water as well as reduces air and water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. According to the EPA, one ton of recycled paper saves 26 trees, 7,000 gallons of water that would otherwise be used to make virgin paper, and 4,100 kilowatt hours of electricity. That's enough to power the average home for six months. As a result of two virtual meetings with federal purchasers held in January and April, the demand for this product has increased so much that prices have fallen to a low of $40.20 per box off the Second Generation FSSI Office Supply BPAs.
Pacific Rim saves $7 million in construction at Arizona’s newest, greenest Land Port of Entry
When it completed construction of the San Luis II Land Port of Entry (LPOE), Arizona’s newest port in more than two decades, GSA not only built one of the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certified LPOEs in the nation, but it also saved about $7 million by finishing the project on schedule and under budget. The dedicated 90-acre commercial port is located five miles east of the existing LPOE and features a 20-station commercial inspection dock, six-station import dock and 80 parking spaces.
The port was able to exceed its originally planned LEED Silver certification by incorporating a number of energy and sustainability elements such as using drought tolerant plants in the landscaping, installing waterless and low-flow water fixtures, as well as using white roofs and concrete paved surfaces to reduce the heat island effect. More recently, GSA completed the installation of a 276 kilowatt, utility-interactive, solar panel system on the southeast corner of the campus. The ARRA-funded project will reduce the LPOE’s environmental footprint by producing enough clean energy to power 47 homes and prevent 765,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere annually, the equivalent of planting 1,913 trees. Just another way GSA is saving green by being green.
Pacific Rim saves water, dollars at regional headquarters
It’s only been three years since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) passed and the region is already realizing some of the benefits of investing in sustainability.
At the Phillip Burton Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in San Francisco, ARRA funds were used to replace bathroom fixtures throughout the building with newer, more efficient models. When the building manager recently compared the 2007 water usage numbers with 2011, there was a dramatic drop. In fact, the installation of ultra-low flush urinals and toilets that feature a dual flush option have helped lower overall usage by 4,545,496 gallons per year.
Besides the fixture replacements, the building’s landscape features native and drought-resistant plants, which require less water to thrive, and the building management has opted to wash exterior windows annually, rather than every six months.
That kind of savings not only helps the planet, it also saves the government thousands: the water bill at the Burton building was almost $50,000 less in 2011 than 2007.