By signing Executive Order Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade, President Obama set new sustainability goals for the federal government that have the potential to make a huge impact on energy and water use in both the federal and private sectors. Signed on March 19, 2015, the Order requires federal agencies to reduce carbon pollution 40% by 2025 over 2008 levels by:

  • Reducing energy use in Federal buildings by 2.5% per year over 2015 through 2025
  • Reducing water intensity in Federal buildings by 2% per year over 2007 through 2025 for a total water use reduction goal of 36%
  • Ensuring that 25% of total electric and thermal consumption is from clean energy sources by 2025
  • Reducing per mile GHG emissions from vehicle fleets by 30% over 2014 by 2025
  • Ensuring that all new Federal construction (over 5000sf) after 2020 will designed as net-zero energy and after 2030 to be water or waste net-zero (where feasible)
  • Instituting advanced waste and pollution prevention

As a leader for and in collaboration with the private sector, Federal agencies will: report and track their progress via the Energy Star Portfolio Manager system, conform to local city performance benchmarking efforts, and participate where feasible, in the Green Button data access system.

To push the effort into the private sector, the Order seeks to promote sustainable Federal purchasing sustainable products and services identified by EPA including:

  • Recycled content products
  • Significant New Alternative Policy (SNAP) chemicals or other alternatives to ozone-depleting substances and high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons, where feasible
  • WaterSense certified products and services (water efficient products)WaterSense
  • Safer Choice labeled products
  • SmartWay Transport partners and SmartWay products
  • Additionally the Order seeks to purchase: Energy and water efficient products and services, such as ENERGY STAR qualified and Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP)-designated products, identified by EPA and DOE and BioPreferred/ biobased designated products designated by the United States Department EnergyStarof Agriculture
  • Sets reporting and energy efficiency language for Federal leases over 10,000sf and
  • Requires supply chain vendors to manage their GHG emissions

So what?  This Executive Order builds on the progress that the Administration has already achieved and sets aggressive yet achievable goals for the Federal government.  These goals will also have a significant impact on the private sector through the Federal government’s purchasing power increasing demand for sustainable products and spurring innovation of new products; will support the growing solar panel manufacture and installation industries; and will provide incentive to the private sector to broaden and strengthen sustainability goals by being a Federal leader and leading by example.



Green Travelogue: The Palm Beaches

March 2, 2015

Winter has been blowing through the mid-Atlantic with a depressing ferociousness and it brought snow, sleet, and biting cold with it. Using my husband’s trip to a conference as an opportunity for a quick defrost, I embarked on a quick trip to West Palm Beach, Florida. Having flown into Ft. Lauderdale we took the airport […]

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Recyclebank’s Waste Infogram

February 2, 2015
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Every little bit counts: Microplastics plague Chesapeake waters

January 27, 2015

Every little bit counts when it comes to plastic.  This article is a wake-up call for us all when it comes to the plastic we consume and how we dispose of it. Reprinted with permission from The Bay Journal Volume 24, Number 10 Jan/Feb 2015 Every little bit counts: Microplastics plague Chesapeake waters Tiny, almost […]

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2ACH Drop With Two Simple Changes

January 24, 2015

Jargon. I have always said we shouldn’t use jargon but there it is right in the title! 2ACH means 2 Air Changes Per Hour….which means that all the air in the volume being measured changes completely – twice – in one hour. In this case the volume being tested is our new townhouse. Last month, […]

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Finally! K-Cup Recycling!

January 23, 2015

Hallelujah someone has started an expensive but easy way to recycle K-Cups those pernicious yet convenient coffee dispensers. Note that it wasn’t Keurig who has accomplished this.  Terracycle together with OfficeMax have launched the fee based program in Canada. Although not available in the US yet, there is hope that a full scale launch will […]

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NYC Bans Single-use Styrofoam Products

January 21, 2015

In a move that may help the old Grecian paper cup make a huge come-back; effective 7/1/2015, NYC has banned single-use styrofoam products! There are is at least one well-known, national coffee chain that must be sitting back on its heels.  Hooray! EPS (expanded polystyrene) is already banned in six cities including: Washington, DC, Minneapolis, […]

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Use Energy Star Tool To Assess Your House

January 6, 2015

The Energy Star Home Advisor tool allows you to quickly and easily assess your home’s energy use vis-a-vis your participating neighbors and gives some practical, easy to do tasks to reduce energy use and increase efficiency.  It also assigns some pretty hefty tasks but you can feel good about yourself as you tick off the […]

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Vertical Living Offers New Challenges

January 2, 2015

People keep asking me what is most surprising about living in the city? Lots of things are different, surprising, and new but one of the most challenging is living vertically. When we lived in Raleigh, NC we had a ranch style house – one floor living – which was easy and efficient. Out in suburbia […]

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Bee Dance for Business Success

December 28, 2014

Check out the last three bullet-points in this article for some very pithy hints for our personal and business lives…hints from bees! Reprinted from the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild newsletter December 28, 2014 In his research on the decision-making process of honey bees in a swarm cluster, Tom Seeley designed some exquisite experiments and carried them […]

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