WASHINGTON – To mark the 40 th anniversary of Earth Day, t he U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced that beginning July 31, 2010 the main Treasury building and the Treasury Department annex will use wind power to supply 100 percent of their energy demand. This comes on the heels of Treasury's announcement earlier this week of an initiative to make a dramatic shift from paper to electronic transactions, a move that is expected to save more than $400 million and 12 million pounds of paper in the first five years alone. Together these two new initiatives will greatly reduce Treasury's carbon footprint and overall environmental impact.
"The Treasury Department is committed to operating in a manner that is more sustainable and reduces our impact on the environment," said Assistant Secretary for Management and Chief Financial Officer Dan Tangherlini. "Switching the way we power our buildings is just one of the ways Treasury is meeting that commitment and working to lead the federal government in sustainable operations."
Electricity generation is the leading cause of industrial air pollution in the U.S., with the majority of U.S. electricity coming from non-renewable sources such as fossil fuel-based power plants. As of July 31, 2010, the Treasury Department will be purchasing enough Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) for wind power to supply 100 percent of the energy demand for the main Treasury and Treasury annex buildings. RECs finance renewable power generation, which is then placed into the electrical grid and results in reducing the need for fossil fuel-based electrical generation. RECs allow buyers to ensure that a specified amount of renewable power was generated to meet their demand. The cost of purchasing RECs is more than offset by costs from other energy and water savings measures Treasury is undertaking.
In October the President signed an Executive Order requiring Federal agencies to set a 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target, increase energy efficiency, reduce fleet petroleum consumption, conserve water, reduce waste, support sustainable communities and leverage federal purchasing power to promote environmentally-responsible products and technologies. Treasury set an ambitious goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 33 percent by 2020, and the move to wind power will help Treasury meet this goal.
This new initiative will help promote green jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and is a continuation of Treasury's commitment to operate in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. This commitment has been recognized by others – Treasury was rated "green" in all areas of environmental and energy program management by the Office of Management and Budget earlier this year.