Creative Energy

Agencies will need more than their share of creative energy to become models of environmentally friendly practices.

For many years now, federal agencies have stepped up their efforts to conserve energy, preserve the environment and protect precious natural resources. In fact, for more than a decade, we've been reporting in Government Executive and on everything from eco-friendly purchasing practices to ongoing efforts to create more energy-efficient federal buildings.

But in the past year or so, as concerns about the dangers of global warming have mounted and the price of gas has steadily increased, the greening of government has transformed from a lofty goal into a business imperative. Federal agencies are under more pressure than ever from Congress, the White House, the presidential candidates and the public to become models of green practices.

That has unleashed a lot of creative energy within government-and that, thankfully, is a fully renewable resource. We've decided to explore its use in the federal sector in this issue of the magazine and in an accompanying special section on our Web site. That involves looking at success stories such as the Air Force's innovative effort to install the largest solar panel array in the Americas.

We also take a hard look at the challenges that government faces as mandates to cut energy consumption and increase green practices proliferate. It turns out, for example, that while agencies have used their purchasing power to boost green technology, it's still not clear just how much they're buying in the way of environmentally preferable products. And the Air Force's next initiative-exploring whether to rely on small-scale, gas-cooled nuclear power reactors for some of its energy needs-will be a little trickier to implement than the solar initiative.

In addition to looking at what government is doing, we've made our own effort to go green with this issue. It is printed on paper that includes wood fiber from forests certified and managed by the Forest Stewardship Council, as well as recycled fiber. We also have used environmentally friendly soy ink in the printing process.

A lot of work over many months went into the planning, preparation and production of this issue. Special thanks go to Senior Editor Kellie Lunney, Senior Correspondent Katherine McIntire Peters and Production Director Jennifer West Fisher for coming up with the concept for the issue and for implementing our own green printing practices.

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