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Greening State Government Resources - Green Gems Case Studies

"Green Gems” are brief descriptions of unique, innovative, or highly successful programs related to Greening State Government activities across the U.S. If available, quantitative or qualitative metrics associated with the program have been included in the green gem description. The Green Gems are categorized below under the program areas of: 

Click a category or state name above to jump directly to it. Or download Green Gems as a PDF.




Targeted Activity: Materials Management -- Waste Reduction/Recycling

Program Name: Green IT: Electronics Recycling

Project Benefits: Reduces Contaminants Entering Landfills

Metrics: N/A

Key Players: Legislation; Illinois Department of Central Management Services

Description: An Executive Order, signed in the fall of 2006, requires State agencies, boards and commissions to safely dispose of its PCs and laptops, fax and copy machines, cellular phones and other e-waste in an environmentally responsible manner when it reaches the end of its usable life, making Illinois the first State in the Midwest to implement electronic recycling policies.  Many components of electronic equipment including plastic, glass and metals can be reused or recycled, which significantly reduces the amount of toxic and hazardous substances that may enter the environment.  The Electronics Products Recycling and Reuse Act (effective Sept. 17, 2008) requires electronics manufacturers to collect and recycle or process for reuse residential televisions, printers, computer monitors, computers, laptop computers and printers (collectively known as "covered electronics devices," or CEDs), and other "eligible electronics devices" (EEDs) at no charge to consumers.  Beginning January 1, 2012 landfills would be prohibited from knowingly accepting any CEDs for disposal.  This includes televisions, computers, printers, and computer monitors (both residential and non-residential).  The burning or incineration of televisions, computers, printers, and computer monitors would also be prohibited.




Targeted Activity: Materials Management -- Waste Reduction/Recycling

Program Name: Green Teams

Project Benefits: By requiring all State offices to participate via executive order, recycling rates are increased and ancillary waste reduction issues are addressed.

Metrics: Last year’s recycling efforts results:                       

Commodity Recycled

Pounds Recovered

Office Pack




News 8








Key Players: Kansas Department of Health and Environment; Bureau of Waste Management
Description: The Green Teams program was created as a way to make a difference by incorporating environmentally responsible practices into daily routine at work to help Kansas lead by example in energy conservation, pollution prevention, and resource preservation. Working in partnership with State agencies throughout the Capitol Complex Buildings, over 200 Green Teams have proven an effective mechanism through which recycling and waste reduction programs have been established.




Targeted Activity: Materials Management -- Toxics Reduction

Program Name: Green State Cleaning

Project Benefits: Reduce or eliminate toxic materials used to clean and maintain State buildings.


  • Unbleached paper towels cost about $18/case; bleached towels cost $33/case.
  • 100% of the State’s 35 facilities have switched to unbleached towels by January, 2010.
  • 7 maintenance product lines used for 1.7 million square feet of State buildings were replaced with Green Seal certified products (calculations for reduction of total pounds or gallons of hazardous ingredients eliminated are still in progress).

Key Players: New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services; New Hampshire Department of Administrative Services

Description: The New Hampshire Department of Administrative Services (DAS) is responsible for maintenance in dozens of State buildings housing agencies including the Departments of Environmental Services, Safety, Health & Human Services and Transportation as well as State garages and other State buildings.  As an EPA Pollution Prevention Grant project, and as an example to business, industry, municipalities and homeowners, DAS and the NH Pollution Prevention Program implemented a project to reduce or eliminate toxic materials used to clean and maintain State buildings.  Beginning in 2008, DAS switched from chlorine-bleached white paper towels to unbleached brown towels and switched from traditional to Green Seal certified maintenance products including floor strippers, glass cleaners, bathroom disinfectants, etc. 




Targeted Activity: Materials Management – Waste Reduction/Recycling

Program Name: Sustainable Acquisition and Disposal of Electronic Equipment (E-Waste/Recovery)

Project Benefits: This program touches the three legs of the sustainability stool – economic, because it provides base stock to businesses; community, because it employs people with disabilities; and environment, because it keeps the material out of landfills and Asia.

Metrics: The metrics are based on an increase in the pounds of electronic waste collected and an increase in the number of people with disabilities employed throughout Oregon. In the fall of 2009, the program grew from about 40% of State agencies participating to 100% of State agencies participating. This will create a new baseline for the metrics.
In 2008 under the former baseline, the program recycled 588,769 pounds of electronic waste through responsible processes. The program employed 25 people with disabilities in Salem only.

Key Players: Oregon Department of Administrative Services (DAS); State agencies under DAS authority – mandatory ; State agencies with independent authority – mandatory; Other public sector agencies (cities, counties, school districts) – voluntary

Description: All State of Oregon electronic waste goes to Garten Services for responsible destruction, recycling or reuse.




Targeted Activity: Materials Management – Waste Reduction/Recycling

Program Name: Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) continues to reduce paper purchases

Project Benefits: Reduction in purchase of cut paper and associated cost savings.

Metrics: In Fiscal Year 2008 (FY08), despite a 2+ percent increase in agency staff, DSHS decreased overall paper purchases by 7.5 percent over the previous fiscal year.  In the following fiscal year, the DSHS Sustainability Team continued education of staff in paper reduction practices. The Department reduced paper purchases by another 8.9% or almost 35,000 reams, saving the agency over $142,000.

Key Player: Washington State Department of Social and Health Services

Description: The Department of Social and Health Services’ mission is to improve the safety and health of individuals, families and communities by providing leadership and establishing and participating in partnerships.  DSHS strives to reduce its environmental impact by promoting healthy environments in the communities in which their staff work and live.

DSHS currently employs 19,189 staff and provides services to 1.5 million clients each year.  The agency occupies 9.1 million square feet of space in 183 leased work sites and 22 owned residential facilities. 

Beginning in FY08, DSHS implemented an education and communication campaign to reduce paper use throughout the Department.  The campaign worked - one email at a time.  In March 2007 the Department’s 20 member Sustainability Team emphasized the elimination of purchases of virgin paper by identifying and communicating with offices still purchasing virgin paper.  By December 2007, virgin paper purchases were eliminated.

Next, the Sustainability Team reminded agency staff of the Governor’s Executive Orders, the agency’s goals to reduce paper purchases, environmental impacts, and steps staff could take to help meet paper reduction goals.  An email to staff on “how to set up your print jobs to duplex” was particularly effective.  Soon after that message was distributed, the Department started seeing the numbers drop and its purchases move to higher recycled content. 

DSHS’ paper purchases were dramatically reduced because of the continuous communication efforts regarding the agency’s paper goals and better utilization.

»Sustainable DSHS:
»Article highlighting DSHS’ FY08 accomplishments:



Targeted Activity: Materials Management -- Composting

Program Name: From Garbage to Garden: It’s Compost Time

Project Benefits: On-site organics management (composting) greatly reduces waste volumes

Metrics: At the Department of Ecology:

  • Guide for institutions and agencies to manage food scraps.
  • 70% decrease in disposed food scraps and waste paper towels (by weight).
  • We collect and compost over 12 tons of food scraps and paper towels each year from our building (occupancy, approx. 1000).
  • Through articles and on-site waste audits, increase staff awareness of on-site compost program and the benefits of using compost.

Throughout the State:

  • Provided an average of 12 tours per year, to over 100 people from around the State, U.S. and international community.
  • Support through State grants and technical assistance the development of new compost facilities and collection programs.

Key Players: Washington State Department of Ecology

Description: Ecology began composting on-site in 2005 as part of a “lead by example” plan for sustainably managing organics at institutions and agencies.  Managing materials on-site creates opportunities for facilities without established commercial composting infrastructure in their community. Through this program, we’ve provided tools for other institutions and agencies to use when setting up their own organics recovery program (either on-site or off-site).  These include a guidance document, downloadable graphics and signage, technical assistance with waste audits and program development, presentations, and tours of Ecology’s Compost Central.  Additional benefits of composting include decreased greenhouse gas emissions through eliminated transportation to, and disposal in, landfills.

»Department of Ecology’s Beyond Waste plan
»Managing Food Scraps at Institutions and Agencies




Targeted Activity: Procurement/Purchasing

Program Name: Disposable Food Service Supplies

Metrics: None provided.

Description: For this commodity, the bid specification moved away from food containers made of non-compostable material. The specifications required the following (with some minor exceptions for the hot cups/lids):

  • Processed Chlorine free
  • Bio-based material
  • Compostable
  • Bio-degradable
  • Recycled Content

Key player: California Department of General Services.

Link: None provided.



Targeted Activity: Procurement/Purchasing

Program Name: PC Goods

Metrics: None provided.

Description: PC Goods include desktop computers and workstations, notebook computers, and monitors.  This awarded contract required the PC Goods to be certified to Electronic Product Environment Assessment Tool (EPEAT) Silver or better. 

Key player: California Department of General Services.

Link: None provided.



Targeted Activity: Procurement/Purchasing

Program Name: Open Office Panels

Metrics: None provided.

Description: An Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) specification was developed for the solicitation of open office panel systems.  The specification was intended to safeguard building occupants from adverse exposures to volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The requirements addressed standardized industry-accepted procedures for analytical testing, including test chamber conditions, specimen acquisition and handling, models and parameters.

Key player: California Department of General Services.

Link: None provided.



Targeted Activity: Procurement/Purchasing

Program Name: Procurement of EPEAT certified electronics

Project Benefits: Maine’s participation in the State Electronics Challenge prompted the tracking and measurement of the benefit from the purchase of EPEAT certified products. Reductions from the impacts of electronic products during use, and management of obsolete electronics in an environmentally safe way, also became prioritized during the partnership. 

Metrics: In 2008, Maine purchased 2,678 computer products, all of which qualified as environmentally preferable – they were EnergyStar compliant, improved power management during use and contained fewer toxins.  More than 4,000 retired desktops, monitors, and notebook computers were recycled so as to further reduce the impacts to the environment.  The recycling company contracted by the State adheres to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection performance guidelines, one of the nation’s most stringent.

These measures resulted in the following reductions:

  • An energy savings of nearly 12 million kilowatt hours, or enough power to supply 971 homes annually.
  • Greenhouse gas emission reductions, equivalent to removing 463 cars off the road.
  • 106 metric tons diverted from the municipal waste stream, equal to the waste generated by 53 households.
  • 357 pounds of toxic materials like lead and mercury was prevented from entering the environment.

Key Players: State of Maine

Description: The State of Maine was honored by the United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 1 Environmental Merit Award for Maine’s partnership work in the State Electronics Challenge and for implementing a “green” purchasing program that has helped reduce the environmental impacts of computer use and disposal.  The State of Maine was recognized as a “silver” partner for its accomplishments in two areas: the purchasing of “green” computer equipment and environmentally responsible management of computers at their end-of-life.

Link: For additional information, see the 2010 Clean Government Initiative Biennial Report to the Legislature



Targeted Activity: Procurement/Purchasing

Program Name: Environmentally Preferable Purchasing & Source Reduction Now!

Project Benefits: Helps agencies or schools save money while reducing waste and conserving energy in several areas.


  • Itasca Medical Center, a 143-bed hospital, prevented more than 245 cubic yards of waste and saved more than $11,000 each year.
  • The Grand Rapids Herald Review, a daily newspaper, prevented more than 25,000 pounds of waste, saving more than $12,000 each year.
  • The Itasca County courthouse and garages prevented 10,000 pounds of waste and saved $42,000 annually.

Key Players: Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board; Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Description: The Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Guide helps your agency or school save money while reducing waste and conserving energy in over 30 product areas. The Guide covers aspects of the complete purchasing process, including details on cost, performance and vendors -- everything you need to make wise purchases.

Organizations of all types and sizes are finding that the Source Reduction Now! manual is preventing waste at its source — is an essential waste management method. Reducing the amount of waste generated is a practical way to reduce disposal and production costs as well as environmental impacts.  Case studies show that source reduction can substantially reduce waste and cost, and that the reductions are measurable.




Targeted Activity: Procurement/Purchasing

Program Name: Montana Buy Green Buy Smart Program (BGBS)

Project Benefits: Increase green purchasing activities by State agencies, develop useful training tools for procurement professionals and agency purchasing personnel, provide technical assistance and training to local governments within Montana.

Metrics: Not available yet.  EPA grant funds will support development of a tracking method to measure the volume of green purchases, and estimate GHG and energy savings realized through products with fewer environmental impacts.

Key Players: Montana Department of Environmental Quality; Energy and Pollution Prevention Bureau; Montana Department of Administration; State Procurement Office

Description: The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) received a grant from EPA to increase green purchasing activities and “green” Montana State government through reduced environmental impacts from purchasing.  Currently in the start-up phase, the program will result in greater awareness of opportunities and responsibilities of purchasers throughout State government to “buy green”.  The Montana Department of Administration arranged for a very well-attended presentation by Scott Case of TerraChoice, and is a member of the Responsible Purchasing Network (RPN) which provides online educational seminars.  The DEQ is a member of RPN as well as the Product Stewardship Institute, and is able to participate in national discussions on voluntary manufacturer take-back programs.  Such programs are important methods of reducing the amount of toxins and waste material buried in the State’s landfills.




Targeted Activity: Procurement/Purchasing

Program Name: NC Project Green

Project Benefits: By purchasing “green”, several State agencies were able to reduce paper costs and reduce the usage amounts of other products.


  • Half the paper purchases were spent on office paper, achieving a 55% rate for recycled content office paper.
  • 17 agencies reached 100% goal for all paper purchases, which has been relatively consistent over the past 10 years.
  • More than 1/3 of the agencies achieved a stellar 90% or higher rate of recycled content purchases for paper.
  • Only 19% of reporting agencies purchased all office paper with recycled content.
  • Half of the agencies purchased all recycled content towel and tissue products, achieving an overall recycled content purchase rate of 83%.
  • $10.7 million was spent on outside print orders, decreasing more than 1/4 from last year, 60% of which was recycled content.

Key Players: North Carolina Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance; North Carolina Department of Environment & Natural Resources

Description: Government employees experience similar regulatory statutes and challenges, and share the important role of providing services to the public.  This positions government as a highly visible role model for the State’s citizens, businesses and industries, and provides opportunity to set the example, leading the way in environmental stewardship.  N.C. Project Green is an opportunity to unify efforts of sustainability in North Carolina State and local government, where we can learn from our peers and create goals to succeed in environmental stewardship initiatives.  Case studies, resources and much more information can be found on EPP activities




Targeted Activity: Procurement/Purchasing

Program Name: Beyond Waste: Environmentally Preferable Purchasing

Project Benefits: State and local government agencies receive assistance in identifying and buying environmentally preferable products and services.

Metrics: Throughout the State:

  • Developed website for State and local government agencies to learn how to purchase responsibly.
  • Through articles and trainings, increase awareness of environmentally preferable purchasing and the benefits of using EPP.
  • Respond to over 100 technical assistance requests per year to State agencies around the State.
  • Identified $7,864,245 in savings in FY08 from the purchases of remanufactured toner cartridges.

Description: Each year, State and local governments in Washington have the opportunity to leverage $4 billion in purchasing power to buy products and services that help reach State goals concerning Reducing Toxic Threats, Climate Change, and Washington Waters.  Ecology promotes the use of independent third party standards to make environmentally preferable purchasing easier.  Agencies are finding that the purchase price of many environmentally preferred products frequently represents the most economical choice.  Even when these products have a similar or higher purchase price, they often save money because they use less energy, have a longer life, and require less maintenance.

Key Players: Washington State Department of Ecology

»Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP)
»Ecology’s Beyond Waste plan




Targeted Activity: Construction/Green Buildings

Program Name: Green Space Pilot Program

Project Benefits: Promote responsible building methods and reduce the overall costs

Metrics: N/A

Key Players: Illinois Department of Central Management Services

Description: Central Management Services (CMS) signed a green lease for two State agencies in Chicago as a pilot to serve as an example for green building practices such as: properly disposing of interior construction materials; using recycled materials for carpeting; selecting energy-efficient lighting fixtures; and use of alternative materials such as cork or natural linoleum, which are replenishable and do not release harmful chemicals.  CMS believes it will be possible to save money and reduce the overall cost of leasing property while conforming to green building construction and management processes.  CMS created a list of green building supplies and products to help Illinois businesses and homeowners “green” their offices and homes. 




Targeted Activity: Construction/Green Building

Program Name: Greening the Government, Green Building Initiatives

Project Benefits: Greening the Government supports efforts by the State of Indiana to incorporate several environmentally friendly practices including the building and operations of State-owned and State-leased buildings.


  • 75-80% of concrete and asphalt was recycled.  It was crushed into aggregate used for building a solid base to build the building and parking lot on.
  • All structural timbers from the old building were sent to a flooring manufacturer to make hardwood floors.
  • Roughly 95% of all steel on the project was recycled.
  • Additionally, this new facility has high efficiency HVAC units with a programmable energy management system and also has energy efficient lighting.

Key Players: Indiana Department of Administration

Description: The Department of Administration opened a new facility, located at 601 W. McCarty in Indianapolis, a former brownfield.  The new facility consolidated three separate operations:  Motorpool, State & Federal Surplus and Facilities Management Grounds Crews and resulted in impressive results.





Targeted Activity: Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Program Name: Minnesota Climate Change Advisory Group (MCCAG)

Project Benefits: Summary of Policy Options for Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Metrics: Varied see:

Key Players: Department of Commerce; Pollution Control Agency; Legislation; private companies; trade organizations; advocacy groups; private citizens; academia. 

Description: The charge of the MCCAG was to consider, evaluate, and compile a multi-sector set of recommended policy options and present them to the Governor.  Appointed by the Governor, the MCCAG comprises a diverse group of stakeholders bringing broad perspective and expertise to the topic of climate change in Minnesota.  Final report summarized policy options for addressing climate change.  Technical working group compiled summaries of actions underway in Minnesota to mitigate climate change and address energy related issues. 





Targeted Activity: Energy, Energy conservation

Program Name: Green Building Initiative

Project Benefits: Governor Schwarzenegger's Green Building Initiative (Executive Order S-20-04) challenges State government to demonstrate leadership in energy efficiency and environmental responsibility in State buildings, while also reducing the impact State facilities have on climate change.

Metrics: The initiative requires the State to reduce grid-based energy usage in its buildings 20% by 2015, and, in so doing, reduce associated greenhouse gas emissions.

Key Players: The Department of General Services, as the State's real estate builder, planner, and manager, is spearheading the effort in partnership with the Green Action Team, an inter-agency group chaired by the Secretary of the State and Consumer Services Agency.


1.  Increasing Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings.
Buildings 50,000 square feet and larger owned and operated by the State are undergoing a retro-commissioning process to optimize existing energy systems and improve energy performance.  Retro-commissioning optimization is expected to yield a reduction in energy use of at least 8 percent.  Existing buildings are also being retrofitted with more energy-efficient equipment. Retrofit projects are expected to yield a reduction in energy use of at least 12 percent.

2.  LEED-Certified State Buildings.
State buildings are being designed, built and operated to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.  California is also leasing ENERGY STAR rated properties and requiring built-to-suit leased facilities to meet LEED standards.

3.  Clean, On-site Power Generation.
Solar photovoltaic systems have been installed at several State-owned facilities including prisons, mental hospitals and California State University campuses. Stationary fuel cell applications are also being evaluated for State facilities.




Targeted Activity: Energy, Energy Conservation

Program Name: 20x10 Program

Project Benefits: Governor Brian Schweitzer’s 20x10 initiative challenges State agencies to reduce energy use by 20% by 2010.  This initiative prompted the centralization of energy-use data for tracking purposes. 

Metrics: 20x10 performance is based on percentage of energy reduction for each executive agency, using a CY2007 baseline after weather normalization.

Key Players: Governor’s Office; Montana Department of Environmental Quality, Energy and Pollution Prevention Bureau; Montana Department of Administration, General Services

Description: The Montana Department of Environmental Quality established a centralized database to measure and trend energy consumption of State buildings.  Coming in February, 2010, an online version of the software will enable each agency (and each building) to view historical and current energy use as well as to view their consumption performance status.  All commodities are included, such as electricity, natural gas, oil and more.  Staff has coordinated with other States interested in Montana’s energy tracking system. The system has also been expanded to support public buildings managed by K12 schools and local governments.  The database is also used in a measurement and verification process to ensure building energy projects meet design criteria on a performance level.




Targeted Activity: Energy, Energy efficiency improvements in State owned and operated buildings, including higher education and State agencies

Program Name: State Facility Energy Efficiency Fund (SFEEF)

Project Benefits: Identification and implementation of energy efficiency measures that will conserve energy and reduce costs.


  • Electric demand reduction (kW)
  • Amount of energy saved (DTH of gas, kWh of electricity)
  • Cost savings
  • Increased Energy Star rating
  • Square feet of improved space

Key Players: Division of Facility and Construction Management; Facility Managers and maintenance personnel for State agencies and institutions of higher education.

Description: The State Facility Energy Efficiency Fund was established by the Utah State Legislature in 2008.  It is a revolving loan fund that can provide financing to any State agency or institution of higher education for the specific purpose of financing energy efficiency measures.  Projects must meet energy savings and cost payback requirements in order to be eligible.  For fiscal years 2010 and 2011, projects will receive additional support in the form of matching grants funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.


Targeted Activity: Energy

Program Name: UBEES (Utah Building Energy Efficiency Strategies)

Project Benefits: Identification and implementation of energy efficiency best practices both within the public and private sector.

Metrics: None given (program in development)

Potential metrics:

  1. Participating private entities;
  2. Level of peak demand reduction;
  3. Amount of energy saved;
  4. Monetary savings to participants (i.e., the State of UT);
  5. Number of Energy Star rated buildings
  6. Square Feet of renovated space
  7. Cost-effective methodology analysis comparing costs to benefits;
  8. Number of energy management programs initiated
  9. Jobs created;

Key Players: Division of Facility and Construction Management, State Energy Program, The Staff of the Governor’s Energy Advisory and Utah Clean Energy, a local non-profit.

Description: The State has spent time and energy to create strategies for cost effective energy efficiency management and investment.  UBEES aims to take successful concepts and methods within State government and help implement them in local government and the private sector.  The State is currently implementing methods such as energy performance benchmarking, performance contracting, energy auditing, cost effective above code efficiency investments, municipal lease purchase financing, revolving loan energy efficiency funding.  UBEES is managed through a grant from the State Energy Program and the American Recovery Act. 





Targeted Activities: Procurement/Purchasing; Materials Management -- Waste Reduction/Recycling

Program Name: Environmentally Preferable Carpet Purchases

Project Benefits: Helps to improve the State’s management of materials by reducing its waste stream and better safeguarding human health by protecting indoor air quality.  In addition, the establishment of these criteria supported the referenced legislation.

Metrics: The application of this standard may be reevaluated at the conclusion of periodic updates and revisions to the NSF/ANSI 140-2007 Standard.

Key Players: Department of General Services; Executive Office Green Team


  1. All carpet purchased by State agencies shall be certified to meet the NSF/ANSI 140-2007 Standard at its Platinum level.  All carpet platforms previously certified to the California Gold Sustainable Carpet Standard have since expired, and are no longer valid.  This requirement does not replace technical product specifications; rather, it provides a minimum environmental specification.
  2. This requirement shall apply to all modular and broadloom carpet purchases for new construction, renovation, and replacement, whether purchased through construction contracts, leases, Contract Multiple Award Schedule, or other procurement methods.
  3. Carpet purchases shall require proof of independent third-party certification as specified in the Standard.  Evidence of this certification must accompany carpet submittals, and the owner must receive a copy of the certification at the time of carpet product delivery.




Targeted Activities: Energy; Construction/Green Building; Facility Operations/Maintenance

Program Name: LEED certifications: Colorado Leading by Example

Project Benefits: Reduced energy use, increased energy efficiency, decreased environmental impacts, implemented environmental purchasing standards, reduced waste and increased recycling.

Metrics: State buildings account for approximately 16 percent of all Colorado LEED certifications. As of July 2009, fifteen State facilities were LEED New Construction (NC), Existing Building (EB), or Commercial Interiors (CI) certified.  The Colorado State Capitol is the first and only State capitol in the country to receive any type of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification, and the first building of any kind to receive the LEED for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance designation.  The Governor’s residence received the first LEED Existing Buildings 2.0 certification in the nation.

Description: In 2007, the Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) released a report to help building owners and design teams better understand the costs and benefits of constructing high-performance, green buildings in Colorado. “Cost and Benefits of LEED-NC in Colorado” is now available at no cost, on the GEO website in the Publications Section. The report provides results based on the study of 11 Colorado green building projects certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.  (Governor Ritter’s Greening Government Goal: "By June 30, 2012, reduce energy consumption in state facilities by 20% from SFY 05-06 baseline.”)

Key Players: Governor’s Energy Office




Targeted Activities: Procurement/Purchasing; Energy

Program Name: Procurement of Renewable Energy Sources

Metrics: The renewable energy credit purchase displaces about 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, the equivalent of taking about 2,400 cars off the road.

Key Players: State of Maine

Description: In 2003, Maine's governor established a goal for the State government to buy at least 50% of its electricity from "reasonably priced" renewable-power sources, paid for by energy conservation improvements in all State buildings. The goal was contained in the governor's "Vision" for meeting Maine's environmental needs. As of March 2007, Maine's State government was purchasing 100% of its power from renewable energy resources. The State's existing renewable energy portfolio standard accounts for 30% of this total. For the remaining 70% (50,000 megawatt hours), the State is purchasing renewable-energy credits (RECs) from the Rumford Falls hydropower project in Rumford, Maine.  
Maine is the only State in which 100 percent of the electricity used in State-owned buildings comes from renewable sources. Connecticut’s standard is the next highest in the nation, with goals of 20 percent renewable-energy purchases in 2010 rising to 50 percent in 2020 and 100 percent in 2050.

Link: None provided.


NEW JERSEY                        
Targeted Activities: Energy; Facility Operations

Program Name: NJ Energy Master Plan [Action Item 6: Develop State Demand Response Program]

Project Benefits: State participation in reduction of energy use during peak load times has environmental benefits AND generates revenue for the State.

Metrics: None given (program in development)

Potential metrics:                    

  • Number of participating facilities;
  • Level of peak demand reduction;
  • Amount of energy saved;
  • Monetary savings to participants (i.e., the State of NJ)
  • Participants’ satisfaction level;
  • Number of drop-outs and participant complaints;
  • Impact on wholesale electricity prices at peak times;
  • Impact on prices in the reliability pricing model (RPM) capacity market auctions;
  • Cost-effective methodology analysis comparing costs to benefits;
  • Impact on New Jersey’s BGS procurement process;
  • DR jobs created;

Key Players: State Demand Response Working Group, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, & curtailment service provider (TBD).

Description: Action Item 6: Develop a State Demand Response Program

The State will explore a new revenue stream by providing relief to the electricity grid during high demand periods. By shutting off pre-selected, non-essential equipment during times of high demand, the State can remove electricity load from the grid and be eligible for financial incentives. Options for utilizing the State’s on-site generating equipment with appropriate emission controls will also be considered. The competitive procurement process is already underway for this program, which will enable the State to retain a Curtailment Service Provider who will assist in developing and managing this program across multiple facilities and agencies.




Targeted Activities: Materials Management -- Waste Reduction/Recycling; Procurement/Purchasing; Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Education

Program Name: NY Executive Order #18, “Restricting the Use of Bottled Water at State Facilities and Promoting Executive Agency Sustainability”  

Project Benefits:         

  • Reinforces NY EO #4 (Establishing a State Green Procurement and Agency Sustainability Program) and expansion of New York’s Bottle Bill (Returnable Container Act)
  • Eliminates the State’s spending on purchase of bottled water
  • Eliminates environmental impacts associated with the State’s production/transport/chilling/storage/disposal of bottled water
  • State Agencies are authorized to provide guidance to public entities (which are not subject to the Order) to assist them in the implementation of similar policies

Metrics: None to date.

Key Players: New York State Office of General Services; New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; New York State Department of Health

Description: All State Agencies must eliminate expenditure of State funds for the purchase of bottled water (both single serve and cooler size) by May 1, 2010 (with certain exceptions).  Additionally, they must assess accessibility of tap water.




Targeted Activities: Education; Employee commute/Business travel; Energy; Facility management and operations; Greenhouse gas emissions; Procurement/Purchasing; Water conservation. NOTE:All of the above are DEC activities.

Program Name: Department of Environmental Conservation Sustainability Workgroup

Project Benefits: Extremely well managed, resulting in much progress and “staying power”, impressive metrics collection.  

  • Energy
    Metric: “Power density” (cost per square foot)
    • 30% Power Density reduction in our larger buildings, from the 1990 baseline.
    • Over 7% Electrical Peak Demand reduction, from the 1990 baseline.
    • 16 buildings pass Energy Star test.
    • Over 20% of DEC’s Power purchased from green, renewable sources.
    • Over ten renewable energy demonstration projects.
  • Transportation
    • Average mpg of vehicles purchased.
    • Number of alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles purchased.
    • 450 Alternative Fueled Vehicles – 22% of our Light Duty Fleet.
    • Use of biodiesel fuel in vehicles: over 38,000 gallons of B-20 biodiesel fuel was used during the 2007 EPAct reporting year.
  • Technology
    Metric:  None given
    • Sleep mode enforced for all network printers.
    • Use of non-active screensavers enforced for all XP PCs as well as monitor “sleep mode” after 15 minutes inactivity.
    • Use of lower energy screen saver (blank screen) enforced on all non-XP PCs.
    • New PCs, laptops and monitors EPEAT “gold” certified.
    • All network PCs Powered off each week (Friday at 11pm).
    • Joined NERC State Electronics Challenge as a partner.
  • Green Procurement
    • Number of products for which green specifications have been developed.
    • Dollar amount of products, services and technology purchased using green specs and lists.
    • Issuance of Executive Order 4, “Establishing a State Green Procurement and Agency Sustainability Program” in April 2008; DEC provided key input into the Order along with OGS and other agencies.
    • Use of Green cleaners in all DEC facilities pursuant to Executive Order 134, “Reducing the Environmental Impact of Cleaning of State Facilities”.
    • Green Division meeting held by Division of Permits in 2007.
  • Materials Management -- Waste Reduction/Recycling
    Metric:  In development for waste generation, disposal and diversion.
    • “Zero Waste” picnic. The DEC central office, with help from the Bureau of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling (BSWRR), made their annual picnic a “Zero Waste” event in 2007.
    • BSWRR initiated paper recycling at the central office in 1987. A “reuse room” was established in DEC’s central office in 1997.
    • Composting is currently performed by all four of DEC’s Environmental Education Centers.
    • Most DEC facilities recycle paper, cardboard, glass, metal, plastics and redeemable containers, although performance can be uneven.
    • All DEC facilities recycle electronics and fluorescent lamps, and some are recycling scrap wood and metal (several tons annually).
    • Special collections at 625 Broadway, where BSWRR collects non-alkaline batteries, CDs, floppy discs, eyeglasses, cell phones, six-pack rings, Tyvek envelopes and transparencies on an ongoing basis. The Bureau runs a special event bi-annually to collect those same items plus books and clothing for reuse.
  • Education
    Metric:  None given
    • Launch of sustainability web page on InSite (DEC’s internal web site) that will serve as an information clearinghouse and extend sustainability communications to all nine DEC regions.
    • Public displays on recycling, sustainability and elements of green buildings at Reinstein Woods, Stony Kill Farm and other Environmental Education Centers.

    • Article on sustainability to be published in the June Conservationist.

Key Players: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Policy Office and Division of Operations, as well as participation by numerous Agency staff.

Description: The Sustainability Work Group has identified seven areas of focus for internal sustainability activities and formed seven subcommittees to develop, prioritize and implement projects in each area. Together, these areas cover the majority of DEC’s daily activities and provide a blueprint for reducing the agency’s impact on the environment. The areas are energy, green buildings, transportation, technology, green procurement, waste and education.

Projects are prioritized based on significance of environmental results, significance of impact on DEC activities, bang for the buck, potential for success, visibility, “cutting edge” nature & availability of funding. Projects are tracked using a “dashboard”, which clearly identifies for each the: project sponsor/lead, priority, project phase, timeframe, staff needs, funding needs, status, comments/barriers, and metrics/results.

Link: None publicly available at this point.


Targeted Activities: Energy use; Water use; Materials Management -- Waste reduction/Recycling; Employee commute/Business travel

Program Name: Green Commonwealth Challenge (Part of the Greening State Government program under Executive Order 82)

Project Benefits: Buy-in of State agencies and employees to see how many such deliberate, voluntary actions can be achieved for greening offices and use metrics to measure these actions.


  • Number of in-person meetings avoided through the use of video conferences or conference calls, as well as an estimate of the resulting travel miles avoided.
  • Number of trips avoided by agency employees carpooling with others.
  • Number of meetings planned by the agency for which the agency facilitated carpooling of attendees (e.g., through the use of a survey or other tool to help connect meeting attendees).
  • Number of different materials included in the agency’s recycling program (e.g., white paper, mixed paper, plastic bottles, batteries).
  • Number of days each employee telecommute or commute to work any way other than driving in a car alone.

In addition, participating agencies shall submit to the Secretary:

  • Electricity bills for the months of July, August, and September of 2008, as well as the months of July, August and September 2009.

The Secretary of Natural Resources shall devise a scoring system and provide guidelines to participating agencies. The Secretary shall compile all the reports received by December 1, 2009, and shall announce the three highest scoring agencies by December 15, 2009.

Key Players: State Agencies


State employees are also invited to submit suggestions to reduce the State government's environmental impact to the Department of Human Resource Management's Employee Suggestion Program. The employee who submits the best idea, determined by the Chief of Staff and Secretaries of Administration and Natural Resources, will receive one day of annual leave.


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ASTSWMO's mission is to enhance and promote effective State and Territorial programs and to affect relevant national policies for waste and materials management, environmentally sustainable practices, and environmental restoration.