The US Postal Service (USPS) has avoided $400 million in energy costs since fiscal year 2007 by focusing on energy efficient designs and software to manage the efficiency of its operations and energy consumption.  USPS operations today are using approximately 30% less energy than in 2003.

One of the most visible efforts is the 2.5-acre "green roof" above the USPS Morgan Mail Processing and Distribution Facility in New York City -- the city's largest green roof.  In its first year alone, the facility was able to avoid more than $1 million in energy costs and reduce energy consumption by 40 percent.  The green roof also reduced pollution runoff between 35 to 75 percent, depending on the season.  Plus, the green roof will last approximately 50 years.

Other significant energy savings measures implemented by USPS include energy audits, employee education, and sophisticated energy management and controls systems.  The USPS also adopted a number of different software systems to increase the efficiency of its basic business -- sorting and delivering the mail to every address in the US.  The IT solutions include software to optimize mail sorting programs and reduce the number of partially filled mail trays; and an "Intelligent Mail" barcode system to improve mail routing and tracking.

The USPS has also brought its suppliers into the process.  By 2015, every supplier with a contract worth more than $500,000 will be required to submit sustainability data.  The USPS also produces its own annual sustainability report detailing its energy consumption, carbon footprint and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, conservation efforts, goals, and progress towards those goals.

John Howley
Woodbridge, New Jersey

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