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USDA sets benchmarks on energy and sustainability goals

USDA sets benchmarks on energy and sustainability goals

USDA will continue to identify and track opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve efficiency and cut costs. Under Executive Order 13514, President Obama directed Federal agencies to lead by example in clean energy as well as meet a range of energy, water, pollution and waste reduction targets.

USDA released its fiscal year 2011 scorecard on sustainability and energy performance. In FY 2011, USDA met or exceeded requirements in five of the seven sustainability areas that the scorecard addresses. Using the scorecard as a benchmark, USDA will continue to identify and track opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve efficiency and cut costs. Under Executive Order 13514, President Obama directed Federal agencies to lead by example in clean energy as well as meet a range of energy, water, pollution and waste reduction targets.

"This scorecard serves as an important tool to help measure progress in reducing waste and increasing efficiency in our operations," said Robin Heard, USDA's Acting Assistant Secretary for Administration. "Although the Department is doing relatively well, the scorecard identifies areas for continued focus and improvement."

USDA is meeting goals that reduce indirect greenhouse gas emissions, decrease energy use per square foot, decrease potable water use per square foot, incorporate sustainable building practices in new and existing buildings and increase renewable energy use. For example, in FY 2011 USDA made significant progress in reducing indirect greenhouse gas emissions, largely associated with employee travel and commuting and promoted sustainable acquisition by leading the Federal government's efforts to increase the purchase of biobased products under the Department's BioPreferred® program.

Areas in which USDA needs to improve include decreasing fleet petroleum use and reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with fleet use. To address those areas, USDA plans to (1) increase the use of alternative fuels in appropriate vehicles where it is available, (2) acquire low emission and high fuel economy vehicles, (3) acquire the optimal alternative fuel vehicle for each vehicle's mission and (4) place alternative fuel vehicles where there is access to alternative fuel.

To view USDA's Sustainability/Energy Scorecard, go to http://www.dm.usda.gov/emd.

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