GSA’s Green Proving Grounds Wants Government to be on the Greening Edge


The next smart light bulb or building design could wind up in the Green Proving Grounds program first.

The idea to adopt and promote green technologies using federal buildings and facilities as guinea pigs is not a new concept.

But the Obama administration has ramped up the practice significantly as part of a broader push to achieve environmental efficiencies across the federal government’s vast real-estate portfolio.

Recently, the General Services Administration’s Green Proving Grounds emerged as a key element in meeting the president’s Climate Action Plan and his 2009 executive order calling for federal leadership in environmental energy and sustainability.

The Green Proving Grounds leverages GSA’s real-estate portfolio to evaluate the potential success of emerging green technologies in energy management, lighting, heating and cooling, and on-site energy generation.  

The proving grounds recently released a request for information, running through Nov. 7, for promising technologies that could “inform decision-making within GSA, other federal agencies and the real estate agency in deploying the technologies studied.”

In other words, the next smart light bulb or building design could wind up in the Green Proving Grounds program before its eventual proliferation across government and the private sector.

It’s a fascinating possibility for a government that spends billions of dollars each year just to keep the lights at its more than 500,000 federally owned facilities.

On Oct. 28, GSA Chief Greening Officer Eleni Reed will discuss the Green Proving Ground’s ongoing efforts in sustainability in a keynote address for Nextgov.

Other event speakers include Sharon E. Burke, former assistant secretary of defense for operational efficiency; Jeffrey Johnson, regional command information officer for Naval District Washington; Steve Seidel, senior adviser for the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions; and Jennifer MacDonald, director of the Energy Department's Sustainability Performance Office.

For more information about the event, register here.

(Image via arosoft/