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The General Services Administration is looking to leave absolutely no footprint. And not just no carbon footprint either.
Brian Kimsey General services administration zero environmental footprint ZEF atlanta sustainability summit westin buckhead
Yesterday  morning at our Atlanta Sustainability Summit  at the Westin Buckhead, GSA's Brian Kimsey said the Obama administration is pushing for a Zero Environmental Footprint (ZEF isn't just something baseball umpires with accents say). This is more stringent than the net zero carbon footprint GSA has been striving toward. It's a huge undertaking that will take years, Brian says: ?We can't even get to net zero, and ZEF is much farther out there.? The Breakfast & Schmooze drew more than 200 industry players. In the meantime, Brian says, GSA is piloting buildings for GSA clients that are on the path to net zero over time, including a new federal building in South Florida. 
Sustainability Summit. Our excellent cast included moderator Sustainable Options' Tom Boeck, Perkins+Will's Paula Vaughan, Carter's Jonathon Barge, the GSA's Brian Kimsley, Ernst & Young's Judy Bowles, and Grubb & Ellis' Greg O'Brien
Brian was among six panelists at this year's Sustainability Summit. Our excellent cast included moderator Sustainable Options' Tom Boeck, Perkins+Will's Paula Vaughan, Carter's Jonathon Barge, the GSA's Brian, Ernst & Young's  Judy Bowles, and Grubb & Ellis'Greg O'Brien. Brian says the GSA is assessing  1,400 buildings owned or used by the GSA nationally for its ?sustainability rating? and will determine what steps it can do to improve them. And that doesn't necessarily mean new construction, Brian says. For instance, the GSA is installing a 140K SF photovoltaic array for a federal building in Raleigh that will produce some 540 watts an hour.
Tom Boeck Sustainable Options Atlanta Sustainability Summit Westin Buckhead GSA
Tom also pointed out that the GSA's sustainability undertakings are spreading to its business partners. It's no longer allowing just any firm to bid on projects—a firm must prove to be  forward thinking and strive to be ?pushing the envelope? beyond just zero emission initiatives. ?As a hint for those who are bidding on GSA projects, that consideration is getting stronger and stronger,? Tom says.
Perkins+Will's Paula Vaughan Westin Buckhead Sustainability Summit Bisnow Atlanta
Paula says true sustainability won't be achieved until the City of Atlanta solidly addresses the traffic issues, including transit and more pedestrian pathways. She criticized the City for not getting ?serious? in planning traffic solutions to get people out from commuting by vehicle to work. Judy, though, says she's skeptical mass transit will  improve traffic conditions in Atlanta. ?I don't know all the people lining up to get on [MARTA],? she says. With the population spread out in the 'burbs, transit is a tough sell. Judy says Ernst & Young instead focuses on telecommutingflexible work weeks, and the use of video conferencing and BlackBerrys as alternatives for traveling and commuting. 
Chuck Winstead Cousins Properties Westin Buckhead Sustainability Summit Atlanta gasoline
The demand for metro transit is very market driven, according to Chuck. In particular, gas price driven. He says Cousins has a program where it pays employees to use transit or carpool, but it wasn't well adopted until gas rose to $4/gal in 2008. ?When energy is cheap, people will drive their cars,? he says.
Stan Allen and Pete Corbett with First Century Energy Bisnow Sustainability Summit Westin Buckhead
We want to thank our fabulous sponsors Stan Allen and Pete Corbett with First Century Energy, which is providing turnkey Solar PV, Solar Thermal, and Wind systems to commercial and government clients.
And Stanton Stafford, Lisa Roberson, and  Bob Howell with Newcomb & Boyd proudly showed off the firm's engineering and sustainable design expertise at the Breakfast & Schmooze as a valued sponsor to the event.