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NASA Releases Scorecard On Energy And Sustainability Goals

The Kennedy Space Center installed this photovoltaic array solar plant that ties directly into the Center's power grid. Credit: NASA.
by Staff Writers
Qashington DC (SPX) Apr 21, 2011
In October 2009, President Obama directed federal agencies to lead by example in energy efficiency and use of renewable energy; and to meet a range of goals and targets for greenhouse gas emission, water, vehicle fuel and waste reduction. Federal agencies are required to report the progress made towards meeting their energy efficiency goals each year, and use this scorecard to help them plan new goals for the future.

On April 19, 2011, NASA released its fiscal year 2010 scorecard on sustainability and energy performance. Out of seven benchmarks, NASA received five green and two yellow ratings. Green ratings indicate that metrics have been met, and yellow indicates that progress is being made. This is the first year federal agencies have published their scorecards.

Over the last year, NASA developed partnerships with local utilities and private companies totaling $24 million to improve energy and water efficiency, reduce boiler emissions and generate renewable energy. These utility energy service contracts allow NASA an opportunity to implement projects now and repay the private investment over time from cost savings generated by the energy efficiency measures.

Olga Dominguez, the NASA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Strategic Infrastructure, noted that over the last few years, NASA has moved consistently toward sustainable and efficient operations. Dominguez said, "Sustainability reduces risk to NASA's mission and frees up resources. This scorecard is an important tool that will help NASA in meeting our sustainability goals." She added,

"The neighboring communities in which NASA Centers are located will benefit as well with reduced pollution and less stress on local utilities and infrastructure."

NASA is quickly reaching or surpassing its goals. The agency has reduced petroleum usage by 19.5 percent, which is just short of the overall 2015 goal of 20 percent. In 2010, NASA exceeded the five percent target on renewable energy use for federal agencies, achieving 6.4 percent for its total facility electricity use.

Several NASA centers are also building solar farms to provide electricity to buildings and electric car charging stations, including 68 electric charging stations at Kennedy Space Center. The 3,344 panel solar farm at KSC produces around 920 kilowatts of power, saving KSC approximately $120,000 a year in electricity costs.

NASA also uses creative ways to bring clean energy to its facilities. Goddard Spaceflight Center is using methane gas from a nearby landfill as fuel to heat its buildings. Landfill gas provides a majority of Goddard's heating needs 95 percent of the time, saving the Center (and taxpayers) more than $3.5 million in energy costs over the next decade.

Seven NASA buildings earned LEED Gold certifications, while one earned a Platinum rating and seven earned a Silver rating since 2006. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts, says the organization's website. LEED launched in March 2000.

Building 20 at the Johnson Space Center became the first LEED Platinum certified facility for NASA. Currently, NASA has four facilities that are awaiting LEED certifications, 10 buildings in construction and seeking LEED recognition, and nine buildings in design. By October 2010, NASA exceeded one million square feet of sustainable facilities through new construction and building rehabilitation.

Using this scorecard as a benchmark, NASA will identify, monitor and assess activities and efforts to reduce pollution, improve efficiency, and cut costs. NASA will update the Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan by June 2011 and post an updated plan on the agency's website at

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Nonprofits Awarded For Energy Efficiency And Water Conservation
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Apr 20, 2011
Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and President Obama's environmental policy advisor, joined Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) officials yesterday to award $1.4 million in federal grants to 25 local nonprofit organizations to promote energy efficiency and water conservation in hard-to-reach communities of Los Angeles. The grant program ... read more

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