by Brianna Crandall — May 12, 2021 — In April, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced its commitment to renewable energy, equity and decarbonization in federal facilities. GSA provides centralized procurement for the federal government, managing a nationwide real estate portfolio of more than 370 million rentable square feet and overseeing approximately $68 billion in annual contracts.
GSA committed to 100 percent renewable electricity sources for the federal real estate portfolio by 2025. By leveraging its purchasing power, GSA will provide renewable energy to its real estate footprint of 186 million square feet. GSA is continuing its plan to eliminate fossil fuel use in newly constructed facilities and facilities undergoing major modernization and to achieve net zero by 2030. This aligns with President Biden’s pledge to tackle the climate crisis and invest in innovation to spur transformational technologies that can help reduce emissions, while also creating new economic opportunities to build the industries of the future.
Acting GSA Administrator Katy Kale stated:
I am proud to affirm GSA’s commitment to 100 percent renewable energy by 2025. This is an important step in reasserting the federal government’s leadership role in addressing the existential crisis of climate change.
Mark Chambers, senior director for Building Emissions, White House Council on Environmental Quality, added:
Buildings account for 40 percent of all energy consumed in the US, and 70 percent of the electricity. By the federal government demonstrating a path toward decarbonization, we can encourage greater use of renewable and clean electric resources across the country.
Additionally, to strengthen the mission of GSA and advance diversity, inclusion, equity and accessibility into how federal buildings are designed and renovated, GSA collaborated with the NAACP to establish an Environmental Justice and Equity Task Group. This group’s mission is to improve engagement with diverse and underrepresented communities to create solutions throughout the federal sustainable building process. This includes design, construction, operation, renewal and occupancy leading to opportunities and green jobs.
Jacqui Patterson, NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program senior director, commented:
We are gratified and eager to begin this critical work of examining the past and present impacts of federal buildings on Black, Indigenous, people of color and low-income communities, as well as advancing the transformative possibilities through the work of the Environmental Justice and Equity Task Group. In working towards centering equity in addressing our federal building infrastructure, we aspire to spur a broader transition to a universally equitable and sustainable building sector.
GSA also established the Federal Building Decarbonization Task Group. This group will explore opportunities and challenges for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, in alignment with national climate goals and action plans, through the use of renewable energy, energy efficiency, electrification and smart building technologies at federal buildings.
For more information, visit the GSA website.