The Federal government recently issues a new rule that requires that 95 percent of new contract actions be green.This sounds great. But there are some underlying systemic issues related to the timing of the FARC interim ruling. Industry groups and procurement agencies are scratching their heads. Several industry associations requested that the government stop issuing rules that change federal procurement policy without first considering public comment.
Two days ago, the Federal Acquisition Regulations Council released an interim rule on green procurement, requiring that the head of each agency ensure that 95 percent of new contract actions are for products and services that are energy efficient, water efficient, bio-based, environmentally preferable or non-ozone depleting, adhering to criteria set out by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Agriculture Department. The agencies also must aim to procure items that contain recycled content and are nontoxic.
The federal government is making sustainability a priority. Under the Energy Independence and Security Act, all federal managers are required to cut their fossil fuel use and are directed to acquire recycled content, energy efficient, renewable, bio-based and environmentally preferable products and services towards achieving certain goals. The are a number of “Buy Bio”, “Buy Green First,” programs, as well as Go Green Initiatives giving preference to products and services that meet green purchasing criteria.
Robert A. Peck, Commissioner of Public Buildings at the U.S. General Services Association (GSA), presented a keynote presentation at Ecobuild America this week entitled GSA: Green Pioneer – Green Proving Ground. Peck presented his vision for the GSA as a leader in green building technology and discussed how the 5.5 billion dollar appropriation from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) will impact the GSA’s work.