WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its fiscal year 2010 scorecard on sustainability and energy performance. In six of the seven sustainability areas covered by the scorecard, USDA meets or exceeds requirements. Using the scorecard as a benchmark, USDA will identify and track opportunities to reduce pollution, improve efficiency, and cut costs. Under Executive Order 13514, President Obama directed federal agencies to lead by example in clean energy; and to meet a range of energy, water, pollution, and waste reduction targets. Based on scorecard benchmarks, USDA will update its Sustainability Plan, which is required by EO 13514, by June and post the updated plan on USDA's Sustainable Operations website at www.greening.usda.gov.

"This scorecard serves as an important tool to help us develop targets to reduce waste and increase efficiency in our operations," said Robin Heard, USDA's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration. "We are now armed with data so that we can address areas needing improvement and expand upon areas where we've had success."

USDA is meeting goals to decrease energy use per square foot; decrease potable water use per square foot; establish inventories of direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions; incorporate sustainable building practices; and increase renewable energy use. USDA has recently conducted renewable energy studies and energy conservation evaluations at many of its energy-intensive facilities; prepared a guidebook for the development of wind energy on National Forest lands; increased alternative fuel use in fleet vehicles; and completed several building projects designed to meet LEED green building standards.

Areas showing a need for improvement include decreasing fleet petroleum use. To address areas that need improvement, USDA will analyze sites for potential to install ethanol blender pumps and biodiesel tanks.

To view USDA's OMB Sustainability/Energy Scorecard, visit www.usda.gov/energy.