Significantly, Executive Order 13514 did not spring fully formed from the Obama administration. Instead, it expanded on Executive Order 13423, which was signed in 2007 by President Bush and which directed the implementation of sustainable building practices (largely analogous to the Guiding Principles that underlie the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED-rating system) into Federal agency building projects.
Executive Order 13514 sets benchmark goals for agency improvements in:
- Greenhouse gas emissions
- Energy efficiency
- Water use efficiency and management
- Pollution prevention and waste elimination
- Sustainable Federal buildings
- Sustainable acquisition
- Electronics stewardship
- Environmental management
At its core, the Order requires Federal agencies to inventory and report green house gas emissions and energy usage. Another significant requirement is that all new Federal buildings that begin the planning process in 2020 or after must be designed to achieve zero-net energy consumption by 2030.
The most immediate and far-reaching requirement of Executive Order 13514 was its requirement that Federal agencies ensure that 95% of all new contracts for products and services – including contract modifications but, of course, excluding contracts for weapons systems – are energy and water efficient, biobased, environmentally preferable, non-ozone depleting, and call for recycled content.
Undoubtedly, Arkansas-based companies who contract with Federal agencies have already felt the force of the Order’s sustainable acquisition policy. But at the end of the day, the question is whether Executive Order 13514 provides a blueprint for emerging forces in sustainability and renewable energy like Arkansas. The Governor of Arkansas can issue both executive orders (designed to insure the implementation of Arkansas law) and policy directives (designed to guide Arkansas agencies in the implementation of policy). Arkansas is also developing – albeit, in a scattershot manner – a portfolio of sustainalaws that, considered as a whole, can be read as establishing a public policy of sustainability: the Arkansas Clean Energy Development Act; the Arkansas Alternative Fuels Development Program; the Arkansas Renewable Energy Development Act; the Sustainable Energy-Efficient Buildings Program; and the Sustainable Building Design Program. (There have also been some notable failures – such as the failure to pass the Property Assessed Clean Energy Act and the Arkansas Clean Energy Act in the most recent session of the Arkansas Legislature.) The groundwork is there; now it’s time to follow the example.
(Department of Definitions: An Executive Order is a presidential directive to Federal agencies to implement administration policy.)