Browsing: environment

Getting the 411 on cutting energy use

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The Energy Department’s Federal Energy Management Program is offering free online training sessions to help federal energy and environmental professionals learn the basics about cutting energy consumption in their facilities and operations. The sessions, held the first Thursday of each month, will discuss requirements to report greenhouse gas emissions, install advanced electrical meters on facilities, cut water consumption and make existing buildings more energy efficient, among others. The 90-minute sessions will be offered live via satellite or through streaming video at your desktop. Registrations are now being accepted online. The first session was an overview of the executive order President Obama issued in…

Deadline looms to submit green ideas

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Heads up, federal procrastinators: You’ve got until midnight Saturday to submit your suggestions for making the government more environmentally friendly and to vote on those ideas already submitted by your more industrious colleagues.  As we reported earlier, the most popular ideas submitted during the GreenGov Challenge will be presented to agencies, which are right now figuring out how to meet the ambitious environmental goals laid out earlier this month by President Barack Obama. With a portfolio of more than 500,000 buildings and 600,000 vehicles, the government is a prime target for testing ideas to conserve energy, reduce carbon emissions and promote…

Leading the (green) way

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Federal agencies having a tough time meeting the plethora of green government mandates should take a close look at the 15 federal teams who have been recognized this year for spearheading environmentally sustainable practices at their agencies. Winners of the 2009 White House Closing the Circle Awards — handed out Wednesday during the middle of the three-day 2009 Federal Environmental Symposium East in Bethesda, Md. –  are demonstrating best practices in areas such as recycling, green purchasing and fuel conservation. The big winner was the Air Force, which received four awards for initiatives under way at local bases and headquarters. The…

New green goals coming

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The White House is developing an executive order that will set new goals for greening federal agencies, the administration’s top environmental policy adviser said this afternoon. The White House Council on Environmental Quality is working with several agencies to draft the new presidential directive, council chairwoman Nancy Sutley said during an Earth Day event at the State Department. Sutley did not say when the order will be issued. Existing laws and executive orders already require agencies to cut their energy and water consumption, increase their use of renewable energy, purchase environmentally preferable products and buy alternative fuel vehicles. Sutley said the…

Green products guide

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With pressure mounting to purchase environmentally friendly products, sorting through the various federal programs to determine whether there are specific products identified that meet environmental standards can be daunting. After all, federal agencies are rating scores of products — everything from awards and bed linens to vending machines and water coolers — for recycled and biobased content, energy and water savings and absence of environmentally harmful chemicals or gases. Agencies are required to buy environmentally preferable products, but finding out whether green alternatives exist for products being purchased is often a time- consuming and frustrating exercise. Now there is a tool…

The light bulb dilemma: Save energy or save the planet?

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Sure, replacing those 60-watt incandescent light bulbs with lower-wattage compact fluorescent alternatives cuts energy use. But are they harming the environment in the process? That’s the question one insightful Pennsylvania resident posed to the Environmental Protection Agency recently. The spiral-shaped CFLs contain the toxic chemical mercury, which makes them dangerous to land, water and animals if not disposed of properly. “Should we be more concerned with energy saving or mercury hazards?” the woman asked. CFLs contain a trace amount of mercury — five milligrams — which would fit on the tip of a ballpoint pen, said Dan Gallo, EPA’s electronics…

First target of Obama energy policy: stovepipes

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We’ve already reported that agencies are likely to face new environmental goals under the Obama administration. They’re also going to have to learn to work together. The group of advisers developing key proposals and plans for energy and environmental policies under the new administration met this week to discuss issues that will need to be addressed right away, like climate change and rising energy costs. The head of the group, Carol Browner, who led the Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton administration, said the focus will be on getting agencies like the EPA, Energy Department and others to better coordinate their efforts. One…