News Brief

The Federal Plan to Decarbonize Buildings and Increase Equity

The U.S. General Services Administration has established two task groups in response to the president’s demands on climate and environmental justice.

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has established two new task groups relating to its large portfolio of buildings—the Federal Building Decarbonization Task Group and the Environmental Justice and Equity Task Group. The moves came in response to a sweeping executive order on climate and environmental justice.

Building decarbonization will require clean energy, and GSA has pledged to procure 100% renewable electricity by 2025. This is on top of prior plans to electrify all new buildings and major renovations, and to achieve net-zero energy across its portfolio by 2030. The new task group “will explore opportunities and challenges for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” according to a press release, in an effort to ground these ambitious goals in reality.

The second new task group focuses on equity, and GSA collaborated with NAACP on its establishment. The goal is to “improve engagement with diverse and underrepresented communities to create solutions throughout the federal sustainable building process.”

“In working toward centering equity in addressing our federal building infrastructure, we aspire to spur a broader transition to a universally equitable and sustainable building sector,” said Jacqui Patterson, senior director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program.

President Biden’s executive order also rallies virtually all federal agencies in the work of promoting decarbonization, resilience, and environmental justice. It calls for procurement of zero-emission vehicles, including for the U.S. Postal Service, along with a carbon pollution-free electricity sector no later than 2035. A newly established National Climate Task Force includes the Administrator of General Services.

The executive order also sets the stage for creation of a Civilian Climate Corps designed to “conserve and restore public lands and waters, bolster community resilience, increase reforestation, increase carbon sequestration in the agricultural sector, protect biodiversity, improve access to recreation, and address the changing climate.”

“Together, we must combat the climate crisis with bold, progressive action that combines the full capacity of the federal government with efforts from every corner of our nation, every level of government, and every sector of our economy,” says the order.

More on federal sustainability initiatives

Architecture, Engineering and Construction Leaders Call on Biden to Take Action on Green Building

The Next Four Years

Case Study: Edith Green Wendell Wyatt Federal Building

For more information:

U.S. General Services Administration

Published June 7, 2021

Melton, P. (2021, May 18). The Federal Plan to Decarbonize Buildings and Increase Equity. Retrieved from

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