An interim rule published in last Tuesday's Federal Register by the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council would mandate federal agencies to ensure that 95 percent of new contract actions contain requirements for green and sustainable products, technologies, and services. The notice states that "in the face of changing environmental circumstances and our Nation's heightened energy demands, the Federal Government must lead by example to create a clean energy economy that will increase prosperity, promote energy security, protect the interests of taxpayers, and safeguard the health of our environment."

Although an exemption exists for procurement of weapon systems and other systems relating to national security, all products, technologies, and services covered by the rule would have to meet requirements such as being energy-efficient, water-efficient, bio-based, and non-ozone depleting. In addition, federal agencies would be required to "implement high-performance sustainable building design, construction, renovation, repair, commissioning, operation and maintenance, management, and deconstruction practices," as stated in the interim rule.

The FAR Council, consisting of the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA, and the U.S. General Services Administration, is accepting comments on the interim rule through August 1, 2011. The interim rule changes current procurement rules to reflect executive orders issued in 2007 and 2009.