I attended the Master Speaker presentation by Martha Johnson (Administrator @ GSA) and I found her presentation encouraging. I guess I had in my mind a picture of “government” being old, stodgy, slow to adapt (and adopt), and ripe with old-school thinking. This opinion applied to their real estate, too, especially when you see some of the 9,000 buildings across the country that are grey concrete boxes.
Well, that was then and this is now – my opinion has changed. I was so impressed and encouraged by the capacity of the GSA to facilitate change by creating and committing to their own Zero Environmental Footprint challenge. I had also learned that as many as 20 years ago they began curtailing and driving energy efficiency in their real estate, which resulted in 22% higher efficiency than private-sector buildings. By being early adopters of energy efficiency and of LEED, they made a statement ot the real estate community and took a lead role in advancing sustainability concepts.
Some other things that I found surprising: they have purchased 22,000 hybrid EVs; they are developing e-waste disposal practices to diminish the environmental impact of 10,000 computers they dispose of each week; and they are migrating and rapidly adopting alternative workplace strategies because of the documented increase in worker productivity and a 65% decrease in employee absenteeism. That’s progress!