June 11, 2009 By Elaine Rundle
In order to reduce the energy and environmental impact of Virginia's executive branch agencies and institutions, Gov. Timothy Kaine issued an executive order that promotes energy- and water-efficient buildings, encourages reductions in employee travel and commuting, and minimizes disposable materials use. The executive order requires state agencies to adopt energy and travel policies, and gives them the option to participate in a green challenge that will track a variety of environmentally friendly metrics.
"Because the commonwealth's business operation is so large, any action we take to reduce our environmental impact will have a significant effect," Kaine said in a statement. "I am hopeful that by reducing the environmental impact of government operations, the commonwealth can inspire private businesses and individuals to adopt similar measures."
Executive Order 82 requires all executive branch agencies and institutions to adopt and post policies concerning topics like energy and water use, waste reduction and travel on their Web sites by July 1, 2010. Agencies have the option to state their intent to develop an Environmental Management System -- a tool that can be utilized to assess how the agency interacts with the environment and how to minimize those interactions -- by the date instead of posting the policies on their Web sites.
According to the order, agencies that choose to adopt policies must include:
The executive order created the Green Commonwealth Challenge, in which Kaine asks state agencies and employees to make deliberate actions that aid the environment. Agencies that choose to participate in the challenge will report to the secretary of Natural Resources, who will track specified metrics from June 15 through Nov. 15, 2009.
The metrics will include:
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.