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Sustainability

Leading by example in Environmental, energy, and economic performance.  Photo of Neal - Director, and Tina - Director

Welcome to our Green Portal. Here you'll find our activities in support of sustaining the planet.

As the largest employer in the United States (U.S.), the Federal government has a unique opportunity to influence our country's ecological and financial future. Here at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) we are excited to play a part in the worldwide sustainability movement. As the agency whose goal it is to recruit, retain, and honor a world-class workforce for the American people we believe honoring government employees and all Americans by helping ensure their communities are healthy is a great idea.

OPM strives to reduce its impact on the environment and support Federal initiatives to green the government. Our annual Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan  outlines our goals, strategies, and progress toward improving sustainability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy, water, waste, and petroleum use. We have a number of sustainability efforts underway, including:

  • Increasing the efficiency of our buildings: The Theodore Roosevelt Building, OPM’s headquarters office in Washington, DC, is undergoing a major renovation and modernization as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Midway through the project, we are already seeing energy and water savings from improvements and upgrades to window insulation; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems; lighting; and water fixtures.
  • Using renewable energy: In FY 2012, OPM obtained 6.1% of electricity from renewable sources, including 74,553 kilowatt hours of power generated from solar panels installed on the roof of the Theodore Roosevelt Building.
  • Reducing petroleum:  We have instituted new vehicle guidelines and continue to improve the efficiency of our fleet. In FY 2012, we reduced petroleum consumption more than 41,000 gallons by downsizing to fuel-efficient compact and subcompact models, including 22 hybrids and 55 E-85 (ethanol) flex fuel vehicles.

Sustainability/Energy Scorecard

In accordance with President Obama's commitment to transparent government, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issues an annual Sustainability/Energy Scorecard for each agency. The Scorecard is a rating of the agency's performance in several categories of environmental stewardship. Along with OPM’s annual Sustainability Performance Plan, the Scorecard provides the public with a measure of accountability and demonstrates OPM’s performance in reducing its impact on the environment. In FY 2012, OPM made progress in each area, including reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, building energy intensity, water intensity, and fleet petroleum; however, we still face challenges to achieving our water and petroleum goals.

  • Greenhouse gas emissions: We continue to reduce Scope 1&2 emissions by improving the efficiency of our facilities and vehicle fleet and increasing use of renewable energy.  In FY 2012 we also made significant progress reducing the impacts of employee commuting and business travel, achieving a 13.5% reduction in Scope 3 emissions compared to the 2008 baseline and surpassing our 2020 reduction target.   
  • Building energy use: As a result of the ongoing modernization project at the Theodore Roosevelt Building, energy upgrades at Federal Executive Institute, as well as a mild winter, we saw a 9.3% reduction in energy use per square foot between FY 2011 and FY 2012.
  • Renewable energy: Last year, 6.1% of our electricity came from renewable sources, including wind, biogas, and solar energy generated by photovoltaic panels installed at our headquarters office. 
  • Potable water: OPM reduced overall water use at its three facilities in FY 2012, but water use per square foot has increased a total of 33.1% since FY 2007.  However, after a recent audit at the Theodore Roosevelt Building indicated that meter readings showing a large increase in water use may have been incorrect, we are currently testing our meters and assessing the accuracy of the data reported by the utility.
  • Petroleum: OPM reduced petroleum consumption by 41,000 gallons in FY 2012; however, the scorecard shows an increase of 76.3% over the 2005 petroleum baseline, and meeting the Federal reduction goal remains a significant challenge. The majority of OPM’s fleet of approximately 1,680 vehicles is used by the Federal Investigative Service, which conducts background checks in order to issue security clearances for the Federal government. The number of investigations has increased each year, and travel by investigators is mission critical. As this trend continues, OPM will focus on converting to more fuel-efficient and alternative fuel vehicles in order to minimize petroleum use. 

Past Scorecards

OPM Executive Fleet

On May 24, 2011 The President issued a Presidential Memorandum on Federal Fleet Performance. In accordance with Section 1 (b) of the Presidential Memorandum an pursuant to the Federal Management Regulation 102-34-50 (41 CFR 102-34.50), executive fleets are required to achieve maximum fuel efficiency; be limited to motor vehicle body size, engine size, and optional equipment to what is essential for agency mission; and be mid-size or smaller sedans, except where larger sedans are essential to the agency mission.

MakeModelYearFuel TypeOffice Ownership
Ford Expedition 2011 Flex-Fuel Executive Secretariat & Ombudsman
Ford Fusion 2011 Hybrid Executive Secretariat & Ombudsman
Chrysler 300 2011 Flex-Fuel Executive Secretariat & Ombudsman

Any questions regarding the executive fleet can be directed via email to the AgencyFleetManager@opm.gov.

OPM Adaptation Policy

On June 3, 2011, OPM released its Climate Change Adaptation Policy Statement. This plan complies with the requirements outlined by the Council of Environmental Quality's Climate Change Adaptation Task Force earlier this year. Through adaptation planning, OPM will address climate change's impact to its operations and assets around the world.

While the scope, severity and pace of future climate change impacts are difficult to predict, potential climatic changes could have significant effect upon OPM's primary mission essential function; Providing critical human capital services to ensure the Federal Government has the necessary civilian workforce (2009 OPM Headquarters Continuity of Operations Plan). In particular, these climate change impacts could necessitate critical OPM decision-making on the operating status of the Federal government.

How will this policy be implemented?

OPM's adaptation policy will be an OPM-wide directive to integrate climate change adaptation planning and actions into OPM programs, policies, and operations. Furthermore, regional Federal Executive Boards will be encouraged to develop similar policies with their Federal, local, state, and private sector partners to propagate effective strategies at the local and regional levels regarding operating status decisions.

Adaptation planning complements mitigation efforts already being taken throughout the Federal government to reduce the impact of climate change. Through adaptation planning, OPM will achieve the following goals and objectives:

Goals

  1. Develop and publish an OPM-wide climate change adaptation plan by June 2012 [or earlier] and update it regularly.
  2. Through climate change adaptation planning, contribute to the Federal Government's leadership role in sustainability and pursue a vision of a resilient, healthy, and prosperous nation in the face of a changing climate.

Objectives

  1. Identify how climate change is likely to impact our ability to achieve our mission-essential functions, operate our facilities, and meet our policy and program objectives.
  2. Consider potential climate change impacts when engaging in long-term planning, setting priorities for making decisions affecting OPM resources, programs, policies, and operations.
  3. Develop, prioritize, implement, and evaluate actions to moderate climate change risks and exploit any new opportunities that climate change may bring
  4. Integrate climate change adaptation strategies into our programs and operations to remain effective and provide more efficient use of taxpayer resources
  5. Establish strong partnerships with local, state, and regional entities to develop policies that enhance adaptability, minimize risk to Federal workers and property, and ensure adequate response to situations caused by the pronounced effects of climate change

OPM Climate Change Adaptation Plan

OPM’s Climate Change Adaptation Plan can be found in Appendix I of the Office of Personnel Management 2012 Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan.

Past Performance Plans

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