The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. General Services Administration has announced a new GSA Multiple Award Schedule contract providing energy-management support services to meet presidential initiatives to strengthen environmental-, energy- and transportation-conservation goals based on President George W. Bush’s signed Executive Order 13423. The order set goals relating to energy efficiency, acquisition, renewable energy, toxin reductions, recycling, sustainable buildings, electronics stewardship, fleets and water conservation. It also requires widespread use of environmental-management systems as the framework to manage and continually improve sustainable practices.

All contractors on the GSA contract have undergone an offer and award evaluation process, as well as a compliance review related to various labor laws and socio-economic conditions. Support services offered under the schedule contract include energy-audit services; energy-management program support, planning and strategies; water audits, management and conservation solutions; resource-efficiency management and training; innovative renewable-energy solutions; building-commissioning services; and metering and advanced-metering services. Services are provided by GSA’s affiliated contractors. For more information, visit


The U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, D.C., and DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory have released technicalsupport documents that demonstrate how to achieve up to 50 percent energy savings in grocery stores and medium-sized retail buildings. The two reports provide recommendations about how to achieve energy savings beyond the Atlanta-based American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers Inc.’s Standard 90.1-2004, “Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-rise Residential Buildings.”

Conducted by NREL’s Commercial Buildings team, the studies support DOE’s goal of producing market-ready, zero-energy commercial buildings by 2025. The reports found that achieving 50 percent energy savings is possible for medium-sized retail buildings with plug levels no greater than 1.76 Watts per square foot (18.9 W/m²) and for grocery stores in each climate zone in the U.S. Energy reduction can be met without solar-energy generation. The technical support documents are available at


According to the annual Vital Signs survey conducted by the  Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Industrial and Office  Properties, national sentiment about current economic and business  conditions is the lowest it’s been since the U.S. economic downturn in  2001. Respondents—comprising 243 principal members and participants  in NAIOP’s National Forums—say the economy and market fundamentals  have lost steam. Other survey findings say the economy has at best stalled, the credit crisis has become a huge factor, industrial markets
weakened sharply in 2008 with limited optimism for 2009, the financial  crisis has played a significant role in the office sector and occupancy  rates, economic and financing issues still were the primary concerns in
the investment outlook, and development potential saw large drops in  2008. For more information, visit


Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley recently acknowledged the efforts of Chicago hotels to achieve the Washington, D.C.-based Green Seal certification. The certification is an environmental lodging standard with requirements in waste minimization, energy efficiency, water conservation, wastewater management and green procurement. The program offers resources, best practices and recognition to hotels going green.

“Whether you are working to install energy-efficient equipment in your kitchens and laundry facilities; installing water-saving plumbing fixtures; or planning for a green roof, like the one we have on top of City Hall, your efforts not only serve as a model for others, but you are helping Chicago achieve its goal of having the most Green Seal-certified hotels in the nation,” Daley said during a recognition breakfast at the Hotel Monaco.

The Hotel Monaco, Hotel Burnham, Hotel Allegro Chicago, InterContinental Chicago and Talbott Hotel are the five Chicago hotels to receive Green Seal certification, making Chicago the city with the most Green Seal-certified hotels in the nation. (To learn more about the InterContinental Chicago, see “ecommercial,” page 28.) Research from the Chicago Climate Action Plan shows that 71 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions in Chicago result from buildings. With 24-hour operations, the hotel industry is carbon intensive and therefore can play an important role in reducing emissions while providing visitors with environmentally friendly accommodations. For more information about the certification, visit