Browsing: Facilities

Not with a bang but with a high-pitched whimper. The slow death of the federal helium program

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On Oct. 1, 2013 the federal government became the victim of a gridlocked Congress and began to shut down. Hundreds of thousands of workers were furloughed without notice while many more kept working – unsure of when they would be paid. Just one day later the 50 or so employees at the Bureau of Land Management’s Cliffside Gas Field – the last remaining federal helium plant – breathed a sigh of relief. The facility had only been allowed to operate until Oct. 7, but Congress had managed to finalize legislation that would keep the facility open for more than six…

Hilton Worldwide wants Old Post Office Building for new hotel, world-class spa

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Federal employees currently working at the Old Post Office building in Washington, D.C., may find themselves relocated in favor of a Waldorf Astoria Hotel. In response to a March 24 General Services Administration  request for proposals, Hilton Worldwide, which owns the Waldorf chain, has come up with its own plan for the 315,000 square foot historic structure. From a press release: The proposal, tendered in response to the General Services Administration’s solicitation for redevelopment of the iconic 112-year-old Old Post Office Building, would create a 245-room Waldorf Astoria Hotel, and feature destination retailers from New York and Paris, as well as…

So what about those White House solar panels?

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Last year Energy Secretary Stephen Chu announced with much fanfare at a green government symposium that the White House will have solar panels on it – by the end of spring no less. Well, that day has come and gone. But instead of solar panels, there is just a June 20 statement on the Energy Department’s blog that says the following before highlighting areas of success: The Energy Department remains on the path to complete the White House solar demonstration project, in keeping with our commitment, and we look forward to sharing more information — including additional details on the…

Update: WUSA's report on federal building lights misses the mark

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So some of you readers might have seen a WUSA report in the D.C. area that took aim at federal workers leaving the lights on. Well, Andrea McCarren had noted that in many federal office buildings, the lights were being left on at night, which costs taxpayer dollars. So she filed a report on how much each agency pays in energy costs for each month and came away with some striking figures. The video package seems to have everything: Taxpayer dollars being wasted, federal employees behaving badly and federal agencies paying through the nose for electricity because they leave their…

What gridlock? Postal dedications on the rise

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While Congress might be having trouble scheduling, debating and passing numerous pieces of legislation, it seems one of the few bills that has not suffered are the resolutions to rename postal facilities. These resolutions have been on the rise for more than 13 years. In the 105th Congress spanning 1997 to 1998, there were 9 resolutions. In the 108th Congress from 2003 to 2004 there were 117. In the years 2007 to 2008 there were 169. There have been 111 in the current Congress. 1997-1998 9 1999-2000 46 2001-2002 92 2003-2004 117 2005-2006 135 2007-2008 169 2009-2010 111* *So far…

GSA solicits ideas for green design

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Do you dislike where you work? Do you think you can do better? If you are a professional or amateur within the field of green and sustainable design, you are in luck. The General Services Administration is once again soliciting ideas for its Design and Construction Awards Program. In a letter to possible participants, Martha Johnson, GSA administrator, said that “In their design and construction, the products of GSA’s Design Excellence Program have represented our nation’s core values of transparency, democracy, and individualism, and they have realized those principles functionally and efficiently.” The contest is open to: Contract design professionals,…

Sound off on carbon footprint accounting

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My cover story in this week’s Federal Times details the federal government’s new goal to cut indirect greenhouse gas emissions by 13 percent during the next decade. The bulk of the story explains the impact on federal workers — more telecommuting, fewer business trips out of state, increased recycling and energy conservation efforts. But as I mention in the article, this is just part of a much larger undertaking to measure and shrink the government’s entire carbon footprint, including the energy used in federal facilities and vehicles. Under an October executive order from President Obama, all agencies must undertake their…

Federal building evacuation a precautionary e(gg)xit

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The 31-story Peachtree Summit Federal Building in downtown Atlanta was evacuated yesterday after mailroom workers flagged a suspicious package that turned out to be a decorative egg. Federal Protection Service authorities ordered the evacuation just before noon Tuesday after a routine X-ray spotted what appeared at first to be a grenade inside the package. The suspicious item later turned out to be a Fabergé-like egg. About 1,900 federal employees from the IRS, Social Security Administration and other agencies work at the building, which also contains a daycare center.  Employees were allowed to return to the building about an hour and…

GSA picks chief greening officer

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The General Services Administration has tapped an industry expert to serve in the newly created career position of chief greening officer. Eleni Reed, director of sustainability strategies at property management firm Cushman and Wakefield, will oversee green building programs and strategies across GSA’s inventory of 9,600 owned and leased facilities, the agency announced Tuesday. While at Cushman and Wakefield, Reed led the effort to enhance the environmental performance of the firm’s portfolio of U.S.-managed properties. She played a key role in develping a memorandum of understanding between the firm and the Environmental Protection Agency aimed at enhancing energy efficiency, cutting water use…

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