Over the last several years, and as part of Administration-wide efforts, Treasury has worked to protect the environment by promoting
efficiency, conserving energy and water, and reducing the amount of paper we
print and mail. And our efforts have begun to pay dividends for the environment
and taxpayers. Today's celebration of
Earth Day provides a great opportunity to share some of the green initiatives
that help make Treasury a leading example of environmental sustainability among
federal departments, agencies, and beyond.
Going Paperless: Electronic payment
provides federal beneficiaries and tax filers with a more safe, secure, and
convenient method of receiving their benefits and refunds as compared to paper
check payment. And more and more citizens and businesses are choosing the
option. As of March 2013, for example, 96 percent of all federal benefit
payments were made electronically. To put this in perspective, in 2010,
Treasury issued nearly 11 million paper benefit checks per month; by 2013 that
number had decreased to fewer than 3 million paper benefit checks. Treasury’s
paperless initiatives are estimated to save $500 million from FY 2011 to FY
Moving to Renewable Energy Sources: Last
year Treasury purchased a department record of 18.9 percent of its total energy
use from biomass, wind and solar power producers. The action garnered Treasury
a place on the Green Power Partnership’s “Top 10 Federal Government” list for federal government agencies’ use of
environmentally-friendly power sources.
Conserving water: By transitioning to a
process known as wiping solution recycling in the production of currency, the Bureau of
Engraving and Printing will save about 12
million gallons of water by the end of the fiscal year.
Opening up Workspaces and Reducing our Space Footprint: By integrating offices and workspaces Treasury is reducing its square
footage footprint. Removing walls increases the use
of natural daylight to reduce energy consumption. Moreover, space
consolidation has the added benefit of creating a more collaborative work
environment. The IRS will generate
savings of over $75 million in FY 2014 through consolidation and more efficient
use of office space across the country.
LEED Gold Status: The Treasury Department's
headquarters is believed to be the oldest building in the world to receive LEED Gold
certification. It’s the
third-oldest federal building in Washington, after the White House and the U.S.
Capitol. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design, is a third-party rating system for the construction
and operation of green buildings. Treasury's headquarters conserves water, has
decreased electricity usage and decreased the use of steam to heat the
building. In pursuing this level of sustainability, the building's
operations will save about three and a half million dollars annually.
We are proud of the improvements we have made around the
Treasury Building to help reduce our environmental footprint and save taxpayer
dollars. This is a responsibility we all have to lead by example, reduce our energy use, and operate our
Nani Coloretti is the Assistant Secretary for Management
at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.