News Brief

A Resilient Government: Federal Agencies Respond to Climate Change

With the release of new climate adaptation plans, EPA, GSA, and other agencies detail how their buildings will become more resilient.

One of the first actions President Biden took in office was releasing an executive order requiring the largest federal agencies to submit climate adaptation plans; these would identify risks and explain how the agency would address them. Now, more than 20 agencies have released their documents, many of which include elements regarding the built environment and other infrastructure.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has already shown leadership on sustainability and resilience in its facilities, but it now has plans to increase those efforts. For example, it will be conducting resilience assessments of more facilities and will use its five-year master planning cycle to consider renovations that increase resilience concurrently with sustainability goals. Its existing GreenCheck system of reviewing designs, specifications, and construction plans will be updated to include resilience measures.

Similarly, the General Services Administration will be expanding existing sustainability programs to include resilience. Future “Facilities Standards for the Public Buildings Service” could see updates regarding climate adaptation when siting construction projects and procuring leases.

The Department of Defense is undertaking a comprehensive review of installations to help ensure their climate readiness and will be updating its building standards as well. Ecosystem services will also be a factor, with a goal of increasing regional resilience.

“By taking action now to better manage and mitigate climate risks,” says a White House press release, “we will minimize disruptions to federal operations, assets and programs while creating safer working conditions.”

More on federal policies and programs

Historic HFC Climate Rule Will Slash U.S. Emissions

Weakened Infrastructure Bill Still Has Sustainability Spending

New DOE Building Programs Push toward a Zero-Carbon Future

For more information:

Published November 1, 2021

Melton, P. (2021, October 21). A Resilient Government: Federal Agencies Respond to Climate Change. Retrieved from

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