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U.S. Geological Survey National Center Leads by Example with Sustainable Efforts

Posted on Monday 7th July 2014
We are pleased to profile the companies and organizations that lead by example in operating their businesses and organizations. The “Lead by Example” profile series is focused on sharing information to inspire and empower decision makers to take action in their own facilities. The information in profiles like this one have come from research and survey outreach focused on four primary areas of sustainability measures:

#1: Waste Removal – (e.g. Recycling)

#2: Climate Control – (e.g. Programmable Thermostats)

#3: Illumination – (e.g. Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology)

#4: Renewable Power – (e.g. Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Panels)

#5: Other Measures:…

The intention of the four primary areas of focus is to start with the easiest and lowest cost initiatives and move towards the higher level of commitment and larger impact energy and CO2 savings measures.

Company/Organization Highlights:

The U.S. Geological Survey ( is a science organization that is dedicated to monitoring, analyzing, and understanding the environment and its resources, hazards, and changes in order to solve environmental problems and maintain the Earth for the future. Thousands of scientists across the nation work to satisfy the USGS’s mission to “provide reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.” Along with their research, the USGS has made admirable changes at their headquarters to “walk the talk” and lessen their carbon footprint.

Lead by Example Initiatives:

#1: Waste Removal – Recycling: YES - each office area has at least one single stream recycling container which is collected daily. The only thing not allowed is food or bathroom waste.

#2: Climate Control – Programmable Thermostats: YES – at least 95% of the building still has pneumatic thermostats, but programmable thermostats are being added to rooms being renovated in the forty year old building.

#3: Illumination – Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology: PARTIALLY – some sidewalk lighting over the past year and now elevator lobbies and main hallways.

#4: Renewable Power – Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Panels: YES – solar panels are utilized to heat the enclosures for the back-up generator so it can start right up when needed. Solar panels are also utilized to provide lighting for outside around one of the smaller buildings on the complex.

Please note that for #3: Illumination, organizations are now beginning to review the savings benefits of LED tubes and fixtures over traditional fluorescent tubes and other types of lighting. Challenges to date have included the reliability of imported products, and some U.S. LED manufacturers, such as Independence LED (, have proactively developed educational “LED Boot Camp” programs and provided samples and cost-effective financing programs.

Overall, the “Green” mantra of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle holds true after multiple decades, and new trends towards “Buy Local” are also gaining traction. Domestic and regional purchasing helps reduce the carbon footprint of transportation and also helps create more American jobs. Learn more through the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies - BALLE - (

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