Government buildings go green

January 29, 2013
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Government agencies at the state and federal level are increasingly transforming their offices into examples of green construction. The effort is meant as a “put your money where your mouth is” measure. The government is working to demonstrate that incorporating the use of sustainable technologies is possible in pre-existing buildings and for an affordable price.

AOL.com reports that the U.S. Treasury building has achieved an environmentally friendly title – the oldest federal building to do so. The structure was originally built in 1836. Using a combination of renovations and technologies, the U.S. Treasury has reduced its operational expenses by $3.5 million a year.

The Treasury aimed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification by increasing the use of natural daylight to reduce energy consumption, implement the use of a heat and cooling management system, conduct waste stream audits to increase recycling efforts and maximize conservation, increase occupant space use and augment transportation means.

The efforts deployed managed to reduce drinkable water consumption by 43 percent, decrease electricity use by 7 percent and a 53 percent reduction in the use of steam. According to the news source, the Treasury building also added 164 desks in the building after incorporating the use of more space efficient techniques.

“Clearly, improving energy and resource efficiency represents an enormous opportunity to save taxpayers money and promote the uptake of cost-effective clean energy technologies and practices, ” Jason Hartke, vice president of national policy for the U.S. Green Building Council, said in a White House blog late last year, according to the news source. .

“They are leading by example,” Lane Burt, policy director of the Government Green Council, told AOL.com. “What they do is incredibly important and progressive because the building is already built. Everything they did was shown to improve their efficiency. They cut their energy and water bill by $3.5 million a year.”

The federal government isn’t the only one trying to make eco-friendly changes. The state of New York mandated that all new government buildings and major renovations are required to meet green building guidelines. According to InHabit.com, New York’s State Green Building Construction Act is expected to have real results.

In Philadelphia the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub) hopes to improve the carbon footprint associated with commercial construction projects. The initiative was established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).