Outlook Newsletter Spring 2011 IssueFederal legislation to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions appears to be at a standstill, so why are more and more private companies and local governments choosing to track and reduce emissions? The answer is for a number of reasons, tracking and reducing GHGs just makes good business sense.

In October 2009 President Obama signed Executive Order 13514, requiring all federal agencies reduce their GHG emissions and implement sustainability plans. As a result of this initiative 95% of new federal government contracts will factor “sustainability” in the award of contracts. What does this mean for state and local governments and private entities? Local governments and companies competing for federal grants and contracts gain a competitive edge by voluntarily tracking and reducing GHG emissions.

In addition, Florida statutes now require local comprehensive plans to include policies aimed at GHG-reducing land use patterns and reduced GHG emissions from the transportation sector. Forward thinking local governments will find these strategies reduce new infrastructure costs, as well as improve community health and the environment in the long term.

Other driving forces behind emission reduction efforts are: the significant buying power of large companies committed to sustainability and efficiency, a growing trend of environmentally based decision making among consumers, and the significant cost-savings being realized through eliminating inefficiencies. The good news is that agencies and organizations with emission reduction strategies in place regularly report reductions and cost-savings beyond their expectations thanks to facility improvements and operational management which did not require large capital expenses. These can range from changing out light bulbs to instituting employee flex schedules.

Performing a greenhouse gas inventory allows for identifying and tracking emissions from various sources and assists in developing an implementation strategy towards more cost-effective projects and policies for reducing emissions. In 2010, we performed our own greenhouse gas inventory for our Johnson Engineering offices in an effort to move toward more efficient operations and in support of a healthier environment. Quantifiable results of energy reduction and cost-savings can be viewed on the back page of this newsletter.

For more information on conducting greenhouse gas inventories, contact Ecologist, Jaime Boswell at [email protected].