Several laws, executive orders, and other documents address federal agencies’ environmental performance. For example, Executive Order (EO) 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, signed on October 5, 2009, introduced new greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions management requirements, expanded water reduction requirements for federal agencies, and addressed waste diversion, local planning, sustainable buildings, environmental management, and electronics stewardship. Federal agencies are also required to meet certain energy, water, and other resource efficiency targets in their new buildings and implement the Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings (Guiding Principles) in their existing buildings. With a mission to protect human health and the natural environment, EPA works to serve as a model for other federal agencies in reducing its impact on the environment and is well ahead of schedule in meeting these mandates for GHG emissions, energy efficiency, water conservation, green purchasing, electronics stewardship, waste diversion, pollution prevention, and other sustainability goals.
With EPA’s aging building infrastructure, however, meeting the Guiding Principles has proved to be a challenge. Therefore, the Agency has developed several innovative tools and processes to ensure it not only meets these challenges head on, but does so cost-effectively and in ways that other agencies can learn from its experience. Following are just three examples:
Several years ago, EPA created “GreenCheck” as a framework for “greening” its real estate projects and tracking its facilities’ compliance with federal requirements. Through GreenCheck, EPA has established a formal process to review and ensure construction, renovation, alteration, repair, and leasing projects comply with energy and environmental regulations and Agency policies. GreenCheck encourages project kick-off meetings to bring together all project stakeholders—including the real estate lead, EPA architects and engineers, the architectural and engineering firm, the client, and EPA “area of practice” specialists representing water, energy, and materials—to identify project opportunities, resolve technical questions, and set up technical support for the project. GreenCheck remains a living document and a process that is continually being revised based on feedback from project managers and stakeholders and serves as a reminder to all EPA architecture, engineering, and real estate professionals to keep sustainability at the forefront of projects. EPA posts the GreenCheck form www.epa.gov/greeningepa so that other federal agencies can use it as a model.
Executive Order 13514 directs federal agencies to ensure that at least 15 percent of their Federal Real Property Profile inventory meets the Guiding Principles by the end of FY 2015. To streamline this effort at its facilities, EPA crated the Building Management Plan Guidelines (BMPG), a series of best management practices for facility managers, employees, and operations and maintenance personnel for integrated pest management, exterior and hardscape management, landscape management, tobacco smoke control, occupant feedback, moisture control, sustainable purchasing, the phase-out of ozone-depleting substances, improving indoor air quality during facility operations and renovations, solid waste and construction waste diversion, green cleaning, and storm-water infrastructure maintenance. EPA piloted the implementation of the BMPG at three locations and developed facility-specific plans and procedures that allow them to meet the requirements of the Guiding Principles. Using the lessons learned from these pilot sites, EPA is creating Building Management Plan Templates to be rolled out at other EPA facilities, therefore saving the cost of developing myriad individual plans at each facility.
EPA also undertakes sustainability initiatives at leased facilities and incorporates language in lease solicitations covering the various federal environmental requirements using its Best Practice Lease Provisions. The provisions establish award factors that allow preference to be given in the lease selection process to buildings that have sustainable design and operations; effective design of the site, building tenant spaces, and building systems; effective security parameters; and design, construction, and management team with proven sustainability experience. EPA has posted its Best Practice Lease Provisions to www.epa.gov/greeningepa to promote their use at other federal agencies.