Obama Administration Announces 2016 Greenhouse Gas Targets and Sustainability Plans; Highlights Federal Leadership on Climate Action
The effects of climate change are already being felt by local communities around the world. To address the challenge, President Obama has taken unprecedented action to address the global threat of climate change and work with companies, NGOs, universities and other governments to reduce emissions, invest in clean energy, and build resilience to the impacts of climate change.
To lead by example, the Administration is today announcing new greenhouse gas emissions targets for Federal Agencies to cut emissions by 41.8 percent from 2008 levels by 2025. These carbon reductions will save taxpayers up to $18 billion in avoided energy costs, as well as increase the share of electricity the Federal Government consumes from renewable sources to 30 percent. These emission targets are a key piece of President Obama’s Executive Order 13693 on Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade.
In addition, the Federal agencies are also releasing their new “Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans.” The Sustainability Plans provide an overview of how agencies are saving taxpayer dollars, reducing carbon emissions, cutting waste, and saving energy. Building on last year’s plans, agencies are continuing to modernize their programs and policies to be more climate-resilient, outlining initiatives to reduce the vulnerability of Federal programs and assets.
To recognize the extraordinary achievements in pursuit of the President’s Federal sustainability goals, the White House also announced today the winners of the 2015 GreenGov Presidential Awards, honoring those who have gone above and beyond in reducing carbon emissions and implementing sustainability projects in the government.
Administration Announces 2016 Agency Greenhouse Gas Targets
In March 2015, President Obama issued Executive Order 13693, which sets aggressive new targets for the Federal Government to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 40 percent from 2008 levels by 2025. Today, the White House announced that Federal agencies have answered that call by setting a Federal government target of 41.8 percent in carbon reductions.
With a footprint that includes 360,000 buildings, 650,000 fleet vehicles, and $445 billion spent annually on goods and services, the Federal Government’s actions to reduce pollution, support renewable energy, and operate more efficiently make a significant impact on national emissions and drive progress across the Federal supply chain. Federal agencies have developed targeted strategies to cut their GHG emissions by reducing energy use in their buildings, making their vehicles more efficient, using clean energy sources like wind and solar, and employing energy savings performance contracts (ESPC). Below are some examples of how Federal Agencies are leading by example:
- General Services Administration: Since 2008, GSA has already reduced its annual emissions by 43 percent below its baseline of 2.3 million metric tons per year — the equivalent of keeping over 5,000 railcars worth of coal in the ground each year. As the nation’s largest owner of office space, GSA’s focus to achieve GHG reductions is reducing energy in Federal facilities. It plans to leverage energy savings performance contracts to complete innovative projects that deliver significant energy and cost savings, including a retrofit of a building in New Carrollton, Maryland, which will cut energy use by 60 percent and deploy one megawatt (MW) of on-site solar power. GSA also recently awarded a contract for 81 MW of off-site solar from two locations on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, demonstrating how Federal agencies are helping to transform the energy grid and move the Nation toward a clean energy future.
- NASA: NASA will cut energy use in its facilities and deploy clean power to help reach its GHG emissions reductions target. For example, at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, NASA expects to reduce energy consumption by 17 percent through a new combined heat and power system, which produces electricity using natural gas-powered turbines and uses the excess heat for the facility’s heating and cooling. NASA is also investing in renewables to provide clean, cost effective power and reduce its emissions while enhancing energy resilience. The White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico will break ground next May on a 1.6 MW solar plant that will power the facility’s water system, provide backup power during outages, and cut GHG emissions by 1,600 metric tons per year.
- Department of Homeland Security: DHS is using several innovative strategies to meet its GHG reduction goal. The Department’s priority strategy is improving energy performance in its facilities, with plans to leverage $73.2 million in ESPC projects that include installation of solar power at facilities in California and Puerto Rico. Additionally, DHS is promoting clean energy and sustainability in its daily operations, for example, the Coast Guard has upgraded 4,800 navigational aids to use solar power. DHS also intends to reduce GHG emissions by streamlining its fleet and cutting petroleum use, continuing to build on its recent success of eliminating 1,123 vehicles, replacing 288 vehicles with more efficient models, and reducing gasoline use by 1.5 million gallons.
- Department of Energy: To help achieve reductions in GHG emissions by 2025, DOE has plans to expand renewable power at two of its National Laboratories, which have led the Nation in science and technology innovation for more than 60 years. At the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado, DOE will install up to 1.6 MW of solar power. Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York will expand its existing solar array with an additional 230 kilowatts, which will not only expand solar research capabilities at the lab but provide clean electricity to the site.
- Department of Interior: As part of its efforts to enhance sustainability across operations, the Department will showcase potential for energy and water improvements at its historic headquarters building in Washington, DC. The project, which leverages ESPC financing, will install a combined heat and power system and upgrade lighting, windows, energy management controls and the cooling system, achieving a 44 percent reduction in GHG emissions from the building’s operations.
To view agency GHG targets visit: http://www.performance.gov/node/3406/view?view=public#supporting-info.
President Announces GreenGov Awardees
The GreenGov Presidential Awards celebrate extraordinary achievement in the pursuit of President Obama's Federal Sustainability goals. They honor Federal civilian and military personnel, agency teams, agency projects, facilities, and programs that exemplify President Obama's charge to lead by example.
Today, the White House announced eight awards in seven different categories to individuals and teams. These honorees exemplify our Federal workforce’s commitment to meeting the President’s directive to create a clean energy economy that will increase our Nation’s prosperity, promote energy security, protect the interests of taxpayers, combat climate change, and safeguard the health of our environment.
- Award Category: Building the Future Award. The Smithsonian Institution’s Mathias Laboratory was conceived and built with a critical focus on environmental leadership and designed to adapt to anticipated changes in scientific research due to rapidly occurring advances in instrumentation, chemistry methods, and telecommunications. The Mathias Laboratory now emits 37 percent less carbon dioxide without compromising the well-being of its inhabitants or agency mission.
- Award Category: Climate Champion Award. Located in New Mexico, the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has experienced firsthand the need to build resilience to the impacts of climate change. Severe wildfires in 2011 burned the property, destroying hundreds of residents’ homes and shutting down the lab. LANL created a Wildfire Management Plan, integrated across Federal agencies and local communities, which has led to the development of re-seeding programs, retention basins for flash floods, and the creation of a more integrated leadership role for overall prevention and mitigation activities.
- Award Category: Green Dream Team Award. Over the summer of 2013, fifteen Federal agencies moved into the newly renovated, LEED Platinum, Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt (EGWW) Federal Building in Portland, Oregon. This building is meeting performance goals head on with an Energy Star score of 97 out of 100, a 60 percent reduction in potable water use, and 30 percent energy generation from an on-site photovoltaic (PV) system. Soon after moving in, the GSA and agencies created the EGWW Green Team, which initiated composting and recycling programs, and developed a community outreach program to bring in student interns and give tours to local school children and Scout groups to teach them about sustainable design.
- Award Category: Green Innovation Award. The Kennedy Space Center’s Chemistry Team set out to develop precision cleaning methods with no environmental liability while maintaining equal performance and cost parity. The team developed two novel solvent-free precision cleaning methods, which will increase workplace safety, replace solvents with high global warming potential, and reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions for the Kennedy Space Center without compromising performance. Additionally, the NASA Chemistry Team is working to apply their solvent-free cleaning methods on a much larger scale.
- Award Category: Lean, Clean, and Green Award. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Detroit District Flex Fuel Program decreased gasoline use in flex fuel vehicles 20% by getting drivers to choose E85—an alternative ethanol blend fuel—when filling up at the pump. The district went from using just 2 percent alternative fuel in its flex fuel vehicles to 71 percent in eight months. District leadership is supplying data and continuous updates to the GSA so that all Federal agencies using the GSA fleet know where to go to find alternative fuel.
- Award Category: Sustainability Hero Award. As the Sustainable Operations Manager at the United States Department of Agriculture’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., Ed Murtagh has created Green Teams, engaged senior leadership, developed outreach and education programs, and promoted an overall culture of sustainability throughout the agency. In addition, his efforts have resulted in the reduction of use of electricity, water, and steam; higher rates of waste diversion; greener infrastructure; increased use of environmentally preferable products; and meeting many sustainability goals, including achieving an Energy Star score of 99 at USDA’s headquarters building.
- Award Category: Good Neighbor. The Federal Highway Administration has set out to develop more livable communities through an increase in transportation choices and access to transportation services. Scott Allen and Corbin Davis partnered with universities, the Memphis Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, NGOs, and other Federal agencies in their area to implement statewide programs and collaborate on their desired multi-objective outcomes. Their efforts led to increased investment in infrastructure, facilities, and services for improved multimodal transportation. Additionally, investments were made in extreme weather vulnerability assessments, improved infrastructure for growing freight demands, and assessments of the overall sustainability of transportation plans.
- Award Category: Good Neighbor. In Charleston, Massachusetts, the National Park Service created the “Branching Out: Youth Exploring Landscape Management Program” to engage young people from diverse backgrounds in learning concepts and techniques of sustainable resource stewardship within the National Park Service. The program has partnered with local public schools and youth-service organizations to create a multi-year educational and career development program. As the program progresses, the participants are faced with increasingly complex, hands-on challenges, all meant to give them meaningful experiences and to inspire them to become lifelong stewards with a connection to their local lands.
To find out more about the GreenGov program visit: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/greengov.