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Bush Orders Federal Agencies to Boost Green Energy Use

Hours after delivering his State of the Union address, President Bush Wednesday issued an executive order that seeks to "strengthen the environmental, energy and transportation management" of the federal government.

The order calls on the heads of federal agencies to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions annually; boost consumption of "new" renewable energy sources; reduce water consumption; implement purchasing practices that are environmentally correct; limit the amount of toxic and hazardous chemicals that are used or disposed of by an agency; and reduce agency vehicle fleet consumption of petroleum products.

Specifically, the order directs agencies to each improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an energy intensity of 3% annually through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2015, from an agency's baseline energy use in FY2003. Energy intensity is the energy consumption per square foot of building space.

In addition, it requires that at least half of the statutorily required renewable energy consumed by an agency in a fiscal year come from "new" renewable sources, which are sources of renewable energy that were placed into service after Jan. 1, 1999. And if possible, it requires agencies to implement renewable energy generation projects on agency property for agency use.

For agencies operating a fleet of at least 20 motor vehicles, the order calls for the agencies to reduce their fleet's total consumption of petroleum products by 2% annually through the end of FY2015, from their baselines for FY2005. It also requires agencies to increase total consumption of nonpetroleum-based fuels by 10% annually, and to use plug-in hybrid vehicles when they are commercially available at a cost that is reasonably comparable to non-PIH vehicles.

The order further requires agencies to reduce their water consumption intensity by 2% annually through the end of FY 2005, from an agency's baseline water consumption in FY2007.

When purchasing goods and services, federal agencies would be required to use sustainable environmental practices, including the acquisition of bio-based, environmentally preferable, energy-efficient, water-efficient and recycled-content products. In addition, agencies are required to reduce the quantity of toxic and hazardous chemicals and materials acquired, used or disposed of, and maintain cost-effective waste prevention and recycling programs in their facilities.

The order also called for new construction and major renovation of agency buildings to comply with sustainable practices, and for 15% of an agency's existing federal building inventory to comply by the end of FY2015. Lastly, it spelled out the requirements for agency purchases of electronic products.

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