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picture of the Whitehouse| GAO report on GSA sustainability progress

GAO: Sustainable Buildings Progress, But GSA Hurdles Remain

GSA’s Green Goals: A Leap Towards a Sustainable Future, But Hurdles Remain

In an effort to reach a lower carbon footprint, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has been prioritizing greener buildings. A recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) praises and questions the agency’s efforts towards sustainability.

The Green Dream

Back in 2011, the GSA set its sights on a greener horizon, aiming to slash building energy use by a whopping 40%. Fast forward to today, and they’ve made some progress. From 2018 to 2021, the GSA has increased its roster of sustainable buildings from 24% to 31%[^2^]. But are they going to go all the way? The GAO cites concerns over funding and a lack of providers.

The Funding Fuel

Money talks when it comes to the GSA’s needs. The GSA owns and leases more than 371 million square feet of space in 8,600 buildings nationwide. When we talk about sustainability goals, we’re talking about a huge undertaking. The GSA has received some financial boosts from acts like the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act, injecting billions into sustainable projects[^12,13^]. But, this is an ambitious endeavor, and as the GAO points out, there’s still a need for more.

Challenges on the Horizon

While the GSA has definitely made progress, there’s still some pretty significant challenges to overcome. One significant hurdle is the lack of access to capital[^2^]. Achieving net-zero building emissions by 2045 “will take more resources than they’ve had in the past.” There’s also the matter of the market’s readiness to provide carbon-free electricity[^2^]. In other words, even if the money’s there, there’s no where to spend it.

The Road Ahead

Of course, the GSA isn’t just sitting back and hoping for the best. They’re actively exploring solutions. According to the report, the GSA is busy researching the carbon-free electricity market and considering upfront funding for energy-saving contracts[^2^].

The GSA’s efforts towards sustainability represents challenges for the agency, and opportunities for innovative contractors.

For a deeper dive into the GSA’s sustainability efforts, check out the full GAO report[^1^].

References: [^1^]: GAO Report on GSA’s Sustainability Efforts [^2^]: GAO Report, Page 2 [^12,13^]: GAO Report, Pages 12-13