The General Services Administration is launching a new tool to measure the performance of green building projects funded by the Recovery Act.
GSA received a total of $5.55 billion in Recovery Act funding, $4.5 billion of which must be used to convert its facilities to high-performance green buildings, which rely on technologies such as solar panels and energy-efficient lighting.
But the agency doesn't have the data necessary to measure how the 263 green projects are progressing, the Government Accountability Office reported on Wednesday. According to the audit, GSA project managers were asked to submit status reports on each project's progress, but they were not given sufficient guidance on how to do so, leaving agency officials with incomplete and unreliable data. In addition, the information covered only 28 percent of projects, because the metrics were too broad to pertain to projects in early stages of development.
To improve the quality of the information, GSA is testing a Web-based system that will store data on how much energy and water the projects save. Officials have said the system will help them track whether projects meet minimum performance criteria, ease the review process and provide customizable reports. It also will store documentation on projects' limitations, milestones and cost-benefit analyses.
GSA Administrator Martha Johnson announced in May an initiative to eliminate the government's environmental footprint using green technology and following better acquisition practices. Projects such as data center consolidation, smart building technology, virtual workplaces and reduced computing power are part of the agency's "moon shot," she said.
According to Steve Kempf, acting commissioner of GSA's Federal Acquisition Service, the agency also is building a Web tool to track greenhouse gas emissions and other energy-related data. The site will be available for free to federal agencies that want to reduce energy consumption and save money.
GSA began the Recovery Act tracking system's rollout in April. The agency already has developed guidance and is training staff to use the tool; it expects to have data available for every project by the end of July.