Category Archives: Sustainability

Sustainability Assessments drive push toward energy savings

The federal initiatives for energy efficiency continue to be prevalent in our Nation, affecting the infrastructure in which we work and live, and the tools our communities use every day.

These initiatives are in response to Executive Order 13834 which requires the federal government to promote building energy conservation and management, improve agency water use efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To support the requirement, agencies develop baseline data for setting and tracking sustainability goals, and provide an annual report of the results to the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

This has opened the door to more opportunities for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to meet many energy challenges facing federal agencies.

Executive Order 13834 requires OMB to prepare scorecards on Federal agency performance on energy efficiency and sustainability. The annual scorecards are based on data, metrics, and scoring criteria that agencies provide regarding their energy management activities, energy and water savings, greenhouse gas emissions, and associated cost reductions. Performance is assigned a green, yellow, or red score for each goal area.

To meet the Sustainable Federal Building (SFB) goal on the scorecard, each agency provides SFB data in accordance with the Federal Real Property Profile (FRPP) requirements documenting whether or not the building has been assessed and whether or not it meets the SFB guiding principles. The guiding principles focus on five areas for both new construction and existing buildings: employ integrated design, assessment, operation and management principles in new or existing buildings, optimize energy performance, protect and conserve water, enhance indoor environmental quality and reduce environmental impact of materials.

The USACE sustainability scorecard currently shows “red” and zero percent complete for the SFB compliance goal, meaning that the agency was not on track to attain compliance with the guiding principles.  USACE implemented a SFB compliance program in October 2014 by adopting UFC 1-200-02, High Performance and Sustainable Building Requirements, as the USACE guidance on obtaining guiding principle compliance.

Leading the charge in this national effort, is the Fort Worth District. The district is conducting sustainable building assessments for selected USACE owned buildings throughout the United States.

Albert Rice, the Fort Worth District’s sustainability project coordinator, said the Corps of Engineers currently has approximately 312 buildings totaling 6.2 million square feet. By fiscal year 2025, the Corps of Engineers is targeting 0.9 million square feet of sustainable federal buildings for compliance.

To date, the District has assessed more than 124 sites at seven districts and divisions, such as the San Francisco Bay Model and the New Orleans District Headquarters – the largest USACE owned building.

“The assessments are the first step in getting all USACE owned buildings over 5,000 square feet assessed. After the assessments, recommendations for obtaining compliance are provided to the project coordinators. Cost savings and energy efficiency go hand in hand and are key goals of the USACE Sustainability Program,” added Rice.

USACE is and will continue its commitment to compliance with applicable environmental and energy statutes, regulations, and Executive Orders.

Volunteers from California Native Plant Society plant native species outside of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers San Francisco Bay Model visitor center that will require minimum watering. This meets the Federal Energy Management Program guiding principle metric #8, ‘outdoor water use’, which calls for water efficient landscaping limiting potable water use.
Albert Rice, the Fort Worth District’s sustainability project coordinator reviews the sustainable building assessment report with Nicole Davidson, Lake Sonoma maintenance control technician San Francisco District and Loriann Arakawa, mechanical engineer, San Francisco District, inside the USACE San Francisco Bay Model.

Corps, Contractors Seek Beneficial Relationship

When about 120 contractors and federal employees gathered in North Little Rock in December, the event looked more like a high school reunion than the Little Rock District’s 12th Industry Days event. But that relaxed look and feel did not stop potential contractors from preparing for the coming fiscal year’s work.

“Industry Days allow us to meet with potential contractors and introduce them to our contracting process which allows us to conduct market research,” said Sandra Easter, chief of the contracting division.

Little Rock District’s Industry Days Forum participates continue to increase as government representatives and contractors meet to discuss business opportunities for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Corps had representatives from Little Rock, Memphis, Fort Worth, Vicksburg, Kansas City districts as well as representatives from the Small Business Administration, National Park Service, General Services Administration, U.S. Forest Service, Army Reserve, Arkansas National Guard, Little Rock Air Force Base and Department of Veteran Affairs.

“Each government representative gave brief overviews of their contracting requirements and participated in a panel discussion with our industry partners,” added Easter.

Attendees received information about $1.4 billion in upcoming fiscal year 2018 projects.

“During the event we also provided training on the basics of government contracting, solicitations, requests for proposals, requests for quotations, proposal writing, joint ventures and source selection,” said Easter.

Each federal agency also had the opportunity to conduct a focus group.  These focus groups are designed to provide information about a specific business line or federal agency.

“Our hope during this less formal setting is to provoke two way communication between each of us by providing contractors the opportunity to discuss business opportunities from the project list,” said Easter.

—(Left) Colonel Robert Dixon, Little Rock District commander and Sandra Easter, chief of Little Rock District’s Contracting Division look on as Little Rock District team members discuss business opportunities with a contractor.

Industry Days provide a valuable forum for both the government and contractors to understand each other’s need to and ultimately provide the best product, on time and on budget.

This type of events is just awesome for my small veteran owned business said Donald McDaniel of Palomar Modular Buildings.

“This type of event allows me to network, which is crucial for a small business,” said McDaniel, “I have the opportunity to talk to various contractors and the federal agencies to see how I can expand my business.  I encourage any small business to attend these types of forums and I’m looking forward to next year’s event.”

For more information on Little Rock District’s 2017 Industry Day forum visit https://youtu.be/YTGC9jpGstg.