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Federal Green Challenge

Federal Green Challenge - Water

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Federal Green Challenge Water Goals

Relative to your baseline:
  • Reduce the amount of water consumed by 5% or more annually.
  • Reduce the amount of stormwater runoff from existing sites by 5% or more annually

Protecting Water Resources

Water faucet, dripping


Stormwater Runoff

  • Meet the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) Section 438 requirements (PDF) (63 pp, 3.0M) for sites undergoing development
  • Reduce existing impervious surfaces and replace with natural landscaping
  • Replace existing impervious surfaces with permeable materials
  • Increase the footprint of on-site green infrastructure systems
  • Capture and use stormwater for non-potable uses
  • Plant trees and other natural vegetation to improve natural hydrologic function of site
  • Use soil amendments to improve infiltration rates of vegetated areas
  • Best practices and case studies can be found at EPA's green infrastructure web page


  • Use native plants to reduce water and pesticide usage
  • Adjust sprinkler heads to ensure that plants are being watered, not pavement
  • Use drip irrigation instead of conventional watering
  • Water during the early hours or evening to reduce evaporation
  • Install rain or moisture sensors to turn the irrigation systems off when rainfall occurs

Executive Order 13514

Improve water efficiency and management by:

  • Reducing potable water consumption intensity 2% annually through FY 2020, or 26% by the end of FY2020, relative to FY2007 baseline;
  • Reducing agency industrial, landscaping, and agricultural water consumption 2% annually, or 20% by end of FY2020, relative to a 2010 baseline;
  • Identifying, promoting, and implementing water reuse strategies consistent with state law that reduce potable water consumption; and
  • Implementing and achieving objectives identified in the stormwater management guidance issued by EPA.
  • Learn more about Executive Order 13514 Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

Executive Order 13423

Beginning in FY 2008, reduce water consumption intensity relative to the baseline of the agency’s water consumption in FY2007, through lifecycle cost-effective measures by:


  • Sweep parking areas rather than hosing them
  • Install submeters to measure water use by subprocess or specific pieces of equipment
  • Switch from potable to nonpotable water for applications that do not require potable water



Case Studies

  • The U.S. General Services Administration’s Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal Building in Chicago saved more than 150,000 gallons of water in one year through the installation of a condensate recovery system that collected condensed water from the building’s cooling system. Read more about Condensate Recovery System Reduces Water Usage and Discharge (PDF) (2 pp, 227K).
  • The U.S. Railroad Retirement Board headquarters in Chicago reduced potable water use nearly 18 percent in one year by replacing 31 of the 91 toilets in the building with water-efficient units that used less than half of the water the previous units did. Read more about Water-Efficient Fixtures Reduce Water Consumption (PDF) (2 pp, 600K).
  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Ames Research Center (ARC) partnered with the City of Sunnyvale to reduce potable water consumption and reuse more water on site. The project included a reclaimed water system, a native plant garden restoration initiative, and an aggressive education program. The combined results of the overall effort decreased ARC’s potable water consumption by 80 million gallons and saved $404,000 in FY2009. NASA's Environmental Sustainability Report, 2009 (PDF). (21 pp, 3.4MB) Exiting EPA (disclaimer)
  • The Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center (PVAMC) commissioned the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) to conduct a detailed water audit of the Medical Center. The resulting water conservation measures generated a 9.2% reduction in water use, or 1,643,200 gallons of water saved and more than $19,000 in annual cost savings. More information Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

More case studies and best management practices, visit the Federal Energy Management Program website. Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

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