President Signs Executive Order to Reduce Federal GHGs By 40 Percent

Source: By Jessie Stolark, EESI • Posted: Monday, March 30, 2015

On March 19, President Obama signed an Executive Order, “Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade.” It mandates a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by federal agencies by 2025, compared to 2008 levels.  The mandate is not insignificant, since the federal government is the largest consumer of energy in the United States. A variety of compliance options are available to agencies, including renewable energy, building efficiency, and alternative vehicle technologies and fuels.

Referring to the major climate negotiations taking place at the U.N. Conference of the Parties in Paris this fall, the President commented on the Executive Order, “We thought it was important for us to lead by example at the federal government.” In addition to emissions targets, agencies must also increase renewable energy use to not less than 30 percent by 2025 and meet mandates for sustainable purchasing of recycled, energy efficient, or biobased products.

The order has a number of components, including energy efficiency, clean energy generation, thermal energy, water efficiency, vehicle fleet efficiency, alternative vehicle technology and alternative fuels (such as  E85), composting and recycling, and biobased products.

Industry groups such as the Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC) and the Pellet Fuels Institute cheered the news that renewable thermal energy was included in the mandate, despite often being overlooked. According to the Executive Director of the Pellet Fuels Institute, Jennifer Hedrick, “Using wood pellets to heat buildings is cost-effective and environmentally friendly – and is a method that more federal agencies are exploring.”

For more information see:

Executive Order — Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade, The White House

Obama issues executive order cutting the federal government’s greenhouse gas emissions, The Washington Times

BTEC, PFI Applaud Executive Order for Recognizing Thermal Energy in Federal Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Goals, BTEC