Government is a market we know very well. For over 37 years our government client base has comprised local and federal government and agencies – including the Executive Office of the President, U.S. Congress, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Coastguard. We […]
As a certified contractor with the General Services Administration (GSA) The Refinishing Touch has worked with hundreds of federal government organizations to help them realize the benefits of furniture asset management.
Over the last 37 years we have refinished, reupholstered and remanufactured tens of thousands of pieces of government furniture and fittings to save budgets, protect assets and reduce the environmental impact of government operations. The scope for saving budgets, resources and the environment within the federal government, which occupies more than 500,000 buildings, and manages hundreds of thousands more, is enormous.
The U.S. government has made a number of changes with respect to federal policies to protect spend and to increase commitment to sustainability initiatives. These policies and federal sustainability efforts include the current administration’s Climate Action Plan and an Executive Order signed by President Obama in 2009 to set sustainability goals for federal agencies to improve their environmental, energy and economic performance.
We appreciate that the federal goals bring together environmental and economic performance. Our experience spans government and federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Congress, U.S. Department of Defense, the Executive Office of the President, and U.S. Army, Navy and Coastguard buildings, housing and barracks. We know, first-hand, the dual returns of furniture asset management; the environmental and economic impact.
Our previous calculations, based on the building numbers and our experience of the furniture footprint in government buildings, estimate that the annual cost of federal spend on new furniture is now upwards of $714 million. This is not an insubstantial proportion of the $500 billion the federal government spends each year on goods and services.
Furniture asset management best practices protect budgets by up to 80 percent, and cuts carbon dioxide emissions by a factor of a hundred. By way of example, a furniture asset management project we completed at the Naval Air Station Pensacola, delivered a 74% total cost savings, costing the agency $268,000 compared to an original budget estimate of $1.1 million. Even if you take a more conservative estimate of reducing budgets by 70 percent, the federal government would still save $500 million a year on furniture asset spend by applying some of the basic best practices of furniture asset management. Half a billion dollars in budget savings is not only an excellent example to set for other government agencies, it’s and a great way to demonstrate public accountability.
If you work in the government sector, get in touch with us today to learn how you can maximize resources and environmental impact.
As a regular service provider to facilities across the government sector, we were pleased to see the General Service Administration’s (GSA) Request for Information surrounding BMO – Building Maintenance and Operations.
With much experience in government renovation projects to fall back on, The Refinishing Touch created a full-length whitepaper outlining the process of furniture asset management, our set of best practices – which we abide by each day – the opportunities and threats associated with the process, and in-depth cost-benefit analyses.
Executive Order 13423 dictates that: “Federal agencies to conduct their environmental, transportation, and energy-related activities under the law in support of their respective missions in an environmentally, economically and fiscally sound, integrated, continuously improving, efficient, and sustainable manner.” This mandate reinforces that the government sector not only seeks out cost-efficiency but eco-efficiency as well, and furniture refinishing, re-upholstery and remanufacturing fulfill each of these requirements.
Where buying new sends harmful waste to landfills unnecessarily, spikes carbon emissions emitted on delivery and spikes budgets – refinishing what doesn’t need replacing does the opposite. Carbon footprints go down by up to 99% while assets are saved from the landfill and the money typically spent on new furniture is reallocated.
When it comes to the implementation of sustainable initiatives, the most productivity is seen when a community, establishment or organization receives support from the government. When an entity has certain standards to uphold and regulations to adhere to, the environmental movement is propelled forward in a more efficient manner. However, environmental policies vary from state to state, town to town, and countrywide.
As a company dedicated to delivering eco-friendly, cost-effective and sustainable furniture asset management services, we have completed renovations within various US courthouses, The White House, military bases, naval barracks and many other government edifices. Because of this, we uphold an avid interest in governmental initiatives and regulations relating to green practices and sustainable development.
In lieu of our thoughts on this issue, we took to our blog page to ask our valued readers, ‘In your opinion, which level of government has been the most responsible in lowering its costs through sustainable initiatives?’ Here’s what we found:
- 40% of readers believed that the most effective initiatives lie in the hands of the state government, with the most effective eco-friendly solutions being set forth by politicians and parties on the state level
- The majority of the vote was split, with another 40% of respondents claiming the federal government has done the best work in terms of achieving and reinforcing sustainable cost efficiency
- In a close second place, 20% of readers accredited local government, citing that their own towns and cities have made the most sustainable and cost-saving strides within the past years
Overall, The Refinishing Touch is pleased by progress made in all governmental sectors – local, state and federal – on the road to universal sustainability. Due in large part to the rise of regulations and the increase in environmental awareness, the idea of a green future has become far more feasible than ever before.
For more information on The Refinishing Touch’s services within the government sector, please read a case study documenting our renovation work in The White House. To learn more about what The Refinishing Touch can do for your business, visit our website and request a free quote today.
Good green policies resonate in both the public and private sectors as making sense from both fiscal and ecological standpoints. As they should — we all have to share the planet and will ultimately benefit from sound environmental practices.
Green government purchasing programs have been found to positively impact not only taxpayers’ wallets, but also employee safety and environmental concerns.
With this is mind, a September study from Harvard Business School shows government purchasing policies are going another step ahead: leading by example for the private sector, which is seeing accelerated green policies as a result. What works for municipal buildings certainly can work for companies and corporations. And many government-owned facilities double as not only a place where the people’s business gets done, but also as beacons of sound planning with conservation in mind.
There’s data to back this up. One of the study’s findings, detailed in the working paper by Timothy Simcoe and Michael W. Toffel, states, “Cities with green building policies targeting only municipal buildings had nearly twice as many private-sector green buildings by 2008 as did other cities of similar size, demographics, and environmental preferences.”
Here at The Refinishing Touch, we refinish and reupholster existing furniture assets at facilities like the White House and U.S Supreme Court in Washington, D.C; the U.S. Army’s Fort Benning in Benning, Ga; and Naval Air Station in San Diego. Repurposing or refinishing of desks, cabinets and tables are done quickly, on-site, using sturdy, durable fabrics, with little disruption to clients in government or our other two sectors – hospitality and higher education.
We believe this trend of private sector following public sector when it comes to environmentally sound solutions – especially in building and renovating – is a value add for all concerned. If a public entity shows how green procurement is done, it sets a financial and environmental example for private companies to follow, strengthening efforts that ultimately benefit us all and put government in a true green leadership role.
Here at The Refinishing Touch, we believe sustainability is a crucial step towards a better tomorrow and should be embraced by individuals and industries alike. So when we read a blog post yesterday and discovered that more than 36 percent of federal employees said they don’t have enough resources for sustainability programs at their agency, we were stunned.
According to the post in The Federal Times, over half of federal employees said their agency couldn’t act on sustainability efforts because focus was placed on short-term goals, rather than more rewarding, long-term objectives. In the survey conducted by LMI, a nonprofit organization that helped develop greenhouse gas reporting protocols, over half of respondents admitted that short-term tasks, such as construction and budgeting, were taking up more time than goals such as energy efficiency and sustainability.
The survey, which aimed to quantify President Obama’s executive order that requires federal agencies to reduce greenhouse gases by 28 percent by 2020, also produced these statistics:
– 34% said sustainability was fully or mostly integrated into procedures
– 51% said sustainability was only somewhat integrated
– 14% said sustainability integration was slight or non-existent
– 17% said sustainability was fully or mostly integrated into the budget process
While the survey reveals some short falls within federal agencies, we are optimistic that the statistics also prove we are headed in the right direction. Sustainability, especially in government, is not a quick-fix, but with dedication, commitment and forward-thinking, our country is sure to continue leading the way in sustainability and environmental-friendliness.
Here at The Refinishing Touch, we love attending events. Each event presents a unique and much-valued opportunity to connect with our community including existing customers, business partners and prospective buyers. And, as always, we’re excited to share the benefits of refinishing, fiscally responsible furniture asset management, and cost-effective sustainable practices.
This week The Refinishing Touch team is attending the GSA Training and Expo 2012, which is being held through Thursday at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas. The event is central to federal, state and local government employees, military members and other key government agency stakeholders that are involved in procurement decisions – it’s also a key event in The Refinishing Touch’s calendar!
The GSA is the federal government’s preferred source for quality commercial products and services, and its annual event gives so much to attendees and vendors—as it’s the GSA’s signature training, networking and showcase event. From valuable networking opportunities to thorough three-day training programs, hands-on demonstrations, showcasing of new techniques, the event offers something for everyone involved in government procurement.
We’re proud to be consistent and regular contributors to the event. Each year we are given the opportunity to showcase and discuss the environmental and budget savings reaped through refinishing, upholstery, remanufacturing and furniture asset management.
As part of the GSA’s commitment to a zero carbon footprint, the GSA Training and Expo has been executed as a sustainable event, so as well as sharing some photos from this week’s event, we’ll be highlighting some of the sustainable practices that are being practiced on-site, and also posting a few thoughts on our host city, beautiful San Antonio. Watch this space for more updates!
We’ll also be tweeting from the event, so don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @refinishtouch.
If you’re attending the event, come by and see us at Booth 3753. We look forward to seeing everyone there!
Last month the U.S. Army announced the opening of its new laboratory in Warren, Michigan, dedicated to energy saving and fuel-efficient research. The facility, named the Ground Systems Power and Energy Laboratory, will simulate the world’s harshest weather conditions—from desert heat to extreme cold—to develop more energy efficient Army vehicles. The facility will conduct research on everything from electrical systems to fuel cells and air filters. Spanning an area of 32,000-square-feet, it houses eight laboratory sites.
While the U.S. Army and other military divisions have dedicated large amounts of time and money to decreasing environmental impact and energy use, this laboratory is the first of its kind.
Ground Systems Power and Energy Laboratory interim director, Jennifer Hitchcock, pointed to the increased armor on army vehicles as a major contributor to increased fuel use saying, “We need to find a balance between mobility and survivability.” This is especially true as fuel convoys have become increase targets for attack on the battlefield.
As a furniture refinishing and refurbishing company that has worked with the Federal Government since 1998, we understand the importance of decreasing environmental impact and we support its goals to obtain that. Sustainable initiatives, such as the new research laboratory, are steps in the right direction and we hope a greener U.S. military and Federal Government is created.