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Today's Acquisition News - CAO says GSA Leading Efforts on Environmental Sustainability

From Federal Computer Week - Mar 8.

GSA leading efforts on environmental sustainability.
The General Services Administration (GSA) continues to be out in front on the administration's environmental and sustainability initiatives. According to Federal Computer Week, GSA chief acquisition officer Mindy Connolly sees her role as ensuring the government's environmental policies are practical for agency procurements. As agencies work to implement President Barack Obama's executive order on sustainable acquisition, environmental goals must evolve from concepts to actual guidance to acquisition officials on what types of product or service to purchase, Connolly remarked. For example, deciding what type of office paper to buy should be easy, but the requirements for support services might be trickier. "There's still work to be done to translate those concepts into fair and relevant evaluation criteria," Connolly explained. To support those evaluations, the acquisition workforce will need more training on green procurements and the importance of good communication between agencies and vendors. "We'll need to be doing a lot of outreach to industry to figure how where and how those products and services are offered in the marketplace," Connolly concluded.
GSA has begun converting federal facilities for net-zero energy use—producing as much energy as they consume—as part of its effort to become a "green proving ground," reports NextGov. Beginning in 2020, all new federal buildings entering the planning process must be designed to be net-zero by 2030, and GSA already is moving in that direction, according to Steve Leeds, GSA's senior sustainability officer. The agency has plans to convert two existing facilities to net-zero status by 2013 and 2014, Leeds said, noting that GSA is uniquely positioned to take the lead on this initiative. "We are testing out technologies that will allow us to show the private sector how things work," he explained. "We're in every state and therefore we're in every weather condition that could exist." And the agency's size allows it to take some risks. "Our denominator is large. If we try something and it doesn't work, we absorb the risk so that other federal agencies take a look at what we're doing and learn from that," Leeds remarked.

 

Source Articles:
Connolly works to make green concepts practical (Federal Computer Week, 3/7/2011)
GSA strives to be 'green proving ground' for net-zero energy use (NextGov, 3/7/2011)
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