Huffington Post article: Federal Contractors Missing the Boat on Sustainability

27 04 2013

Federal Contractors Missing the Boat on Sustainability
Posted: 04/26/2013 3:53 pm

I have had conversations with many federal government contractors recently about sustainable business practices. Many are unaware of the federal requirements around sustainability. Did you know that if you are a federal contractor and are on the GSA schedule, you will be asked to report on your sustainability efforts? This is included in the RFP process, though it is not currently a requirement.

The U.S. government is the single largest consumer in the nation, purchasing more than $250 billion in goods and services each year. Federal funds are dwindling and competition for those funds is growing – as I’m sure you are aware, with the many recent sequester conversations. If you are a federal contractor, one major way to remain competitive is to help the federal agencies meet their sustainability goals.

Sustainability guidelines for the federal government are not something new.
President Obama passed Executive Order 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance in 2009. This is aside from other recent orders signed, such as the August 2012 order that aims to increase the number of cogeneration plants in the U.S. by 50 percent by 2020 and decrease carbon emissions by 150 million tons per year.

EO 13514 specifies that the federal government must meet certain targets including: 26% improvement in water efficiency by 2020; 50% recycling and waste diversion by 2015; 95% of all applicable contracts meet sustainability requirements; 30% reduction in vehicle fleet petroleum use by 2020 requirement; and implementation of the 2030 net-zero-energy building requirement.

Agencies’ sustainability performance information is readily available and can be compared against those goals. To help agencies meet these goals, the EPA launched a Federal Green Challenge. The Challenge asks federal agencies to reduce their impact in six categories: energy, water, waste, electronics, purchasing and transportation. The GSA and a few other agencies are ahead of the curve. In a 2010 National Academy of Sciences workshop, Nancy Gillis, from GSA’s Federal Supply Chain Emissions Program Management Office (PMO), described how the GSA was working to advance sustainable acquisition in the federal supply chain.

Government contractors will be asked to provide an environmental impact statement, develop a waste minimization plan, and describe planned use of green products. Per the GSA’s Climate Adaptation Plan, in FY 2013, “GSA will work to integrate adaptation into key business processes and documents.” These goals will not change with the sequester. One need only review FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulation) Subpart 23.7 (Contracting for Environmentally Preferable Products and Services) language to see that sustainability requirements are here to stay. As more agencies start working towards these goals, they will be looking to vendors to provide solutions that help achieve their objectives.

While some larger federal contractors, such as the SAIC, are taking action to address these goals, smaller contractors are falling behind. Some are only at the recycling and Green Team stage. If you are a company working with the federal government, what actions should you take, and why? First, the ‘why’. If your organization becomes more environmentally sustainable, it will position itself ahead of the competition and is more likely to become a preferred supplier to the government, all other things being equal. The GSA alone purchases over $95 billion in goods and services annually; this provides an opportunity to be part of that market. This is in addition to the benefits that your company could reap when switching to more sustainable business practices. These benefits include cost-savings, improved brand image, and increased innovation, to name a few.

As for what actions you could take, I wish I could tell you there is a straightforward answer. In working with clients to help them through this process, I have found that it really does depend on your sector and the services and products your company offers to the government. The first step, however, is knowing where you stand today against federal requirements, then taking action to improve your position.

If you have started taking some steps and are in doubt as to what and how to communicate to the government agencies you are doing business with, take a look at the recently updated FTC Green Guides for direction. If you have questions as to how to most effectively incorporate sustainability into your business operations, please feel free to email me.

Anca Novacovici is the founder and president of Eco-Coach, Inc., an environmental sustainability consulting firm in Washington, D.C. She works with executives to set their organization’s sustainability strategy, and leads the tactical execution and change management required to fulfill on that strategy. You may contact her at To learn more about Anca, click here.


Ecoport Inc – Spring Newsletter

21 03 2013

Kens Newsletter.pdf

Military Housing division blazes trail into the next generation of green building

15 03 2013

Posted 3/15/2013 Updated 3/15/2013

by Staff reports
Balfour Beatty Public Affairs

3/15/2013 – F. E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. — The West has long been a symbol of America’s pioneer spirit. Although the days of covered wagons traversing deserted prairies have ceded to smart cars navigating bustling freeways, Balfour Beatty Construction’s Military Housing Division recently proved that the dream of forging new frontiers is alive and well — especially in the realm of sustainability.

Thanks to some trailblazers at Balfour Beatty, F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., is now home to a net zero energy construction trailer — the first of its kind in all operating companies of Balfour Beatty Construction Services, U.S.

A net zero building is one that, on an annual basis, produces as much or more energy than it consumes, successfully reducing carbon emissions and dependence on fossil fuels. In summer and winter months, net zero energy edifices can draw their power from a grid. During the fall and spring seasons, more moderate temperatures allow the buildings to produce power and actually supply energy to the grid.

Although a number of countries have already established long-term goals regarding zero energy building construction, net zero facilities remain largely uncharted territory. Concerns about upfront costs have impeded their widespread adoption in both commercial and residential markets. Experts nonetheless anticipate that the net zero energy principle will transform construction practices over the next several decades and ultimately generate $1.3 trillion in global business by 2035.

With Balfour Beatty’s deep commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency, it was only natural to begin exploring ways net zero energy consumption could be achieved.

“Net zero is the future of sustainable building, and we want to lead the industry by example,” said Jim Taylor, BBC Military Housing Division president.

Sustainability champion and director of quality/warranty management, Geoff Bellchambers, discovered California-based EcoPort, a company specializing in the construction of net zero energy mobile spaces powered by renewable energy. Bellchambers collaborated with EcoPort to design and build the modular facility.

Construction began in April 2012, and three months later, nine project team members moved into the greenest trailer ever to grace a Balfour Beatty jobsite. Project manager, Aaron Tighe, observed one of the many benefits from working inside this super-efficient trailer.

“It’s 29 degrees outside right now, and the wind is blowing upwards of 25 miles per hour, but I don’t feel a draft,” he said. “That’s not what you would expect from a typical jobsite trailer.”

The trailer is an impressive hub of sustainable features and renewable energy generators, including solar panels, wind turbines and Galvalume reflective metal siding. Its interior is equally green-equipped with programmable thermostats, light sensors and plywood walls in lieu of drywall, a material which is difficult to recycle. In fact, the entire trailer is 100 percent recyclable!

The investment in preemptively reducing emissions reaps significant dividends. The net zero trailer reduces Balfour Beatty’s operational carbon footprint by 30,000 pounds, and compared to the construction of a typical trailer, its eco-friendly manufacturing processes prevent more than 33 tons of bituminous coal from being burned.

Because its materials include minimal volatile organic compounds, the trailer also maintains a high indoor air quality, resulting in a healthier working environment for the project team.

“In order to help our clients achieve their sustainability goals, Balfour Beatty strives to continually advance our building practices that incorporate environmental considerations,” said Tracy Browne, vice president of sustainability. “Net zero facilities will be a catalyst for growth and innovation in our industry.”

A building that generates its own energy may sound futuristic, but as Balfour Beatty has demonstrated, the technologies are here and the time is now to invest in a healthier future for our communities and our planet.

Business Case For Green Building. A Review of the Costs and Benefits for Developers, Investors, and Occupants. World Green Building Council.

12 03 2013

Business Case For Green Building. Executive Summary. A Review of the Costs and Benefits for Developers, Investors, and Occupants. World Green Building Council.

12 03 2013

Ecoport Inc. Net Zero Modular Spaces to Work, Learn and Live.

1 02 2013

Double wide’s for sale are still available

18 12 2012

Double wide for sale 2These two units are still available. Financing options are very competitive. Send me a message if you are interested at