EO 13423: Getting Serious About Greening Our Government

In January 2007, the president signed a new EO 13423, Executive Order: Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management."  This executive order (EO) is designed to strengthen the environmental, energy, and transportation management of federal agencies. It consolidates and overrides previous EOs in this area. It declares that It is the policy of the United States that federal agencies conduct their environmental, transportation, and energy-related activities under the law in support of their respective missions in an environmentally, economically and fiscally sound, integrated, continuously improving, efficient, and sustainable manner." There are eight goals for each agency, which are summarized below:

(a) Energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions: ensure a reduction of energy intensity by 3 percent annually through the end of fiscal year 2015; or 30 percent by the end of fiscal year 2015, relative to a 2003 baseline year;

(b) Energy use: ensure that at least half of the statutorily required renewable energy consumed in a fiscal year comes from new renewable sources;

(c) Water consumption: ensure reductions relative to the baseline of the agency's water consumption in fiscal year 2007, by 2 percent annually from FY2008 2015, or 16 percent by the end of fiscal year 2015;

(d) Procurement: ensure the use of sustainable environmental practices, including acquisition of biobased, environmentally preferable, energy-efficient, water-efficient, and recycled-content products; and the use of paper of at least 30 percent postconsumer fiber content;

(e) Toxic and hazardous chemicals and materials: ensure reduction in the quantity of acquired, used, or disposed of;

f) Construction and renovation projects: ensure that new building construction and renovation complies with the Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings; and that 15 percent of the existing federal capital asset building inventory of the agency as of the end of FY 2015 incorporates the sustainable practices in the Guiding Principles;

(g) Agencies operating a fleet of at least 20 motor vehicles: ensure that they reduce their fleet's total consumption of petroleum products by 2 percent annually through the end of fiscal year 2015 against a 2005 baseline; increase the total fuel consumption that is nonpetroleum-based by 10 percent annually; use plug-in hybrid (PIH) vehicles when PIH vehicles are commercially available at a cost reasonably comparable;

(h) Electronic product procurement: products should meet at least 95 percent of the requirements of an Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT)-registered electronic product; enable the Energy Star feature on agency computers and monitors. The agency should use environmentally sound practices with respect to disposition of electronic equipment that has reached the end of its useful life.

On March 29, the White House published final Implementation Instructions for EO 13423. These Instructions, to be considered as mandatory requirements by the agencies, detail the specific tasks and milestones expected toward successfully meeting the goals of the EO. Additional instructions and guidance will be issued as needed in the future. This EO and its Instructions are expected to generate a great deal of activity around sustainability, in all government agencies and in suppliers to these agencies.

EO 13423 can be viewed at the White House Web site.  Final Implementation Instructions for Executive Order 13423 can be viewed at the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive Web site.

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