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APM 2011-05, “Sustainable “Green” Acquisition” 10-07-2011

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October 7, 2011


To: Heads of Contracting Activity   
From: Angela Billups, Ph.D. /s/                                    
           Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisition
           Senior Procurement Executive
Subject: Sustainable “Green” Acquisition  
Effective Date: October 7, 2011

1.  Purpose.  This APM: (1) reinforces the need for mandatory completion of sustainable acquisition fields in the Departmental Contracts Information System (DCIS); (2) provides a standard solicitation provision to be used when implementing sustainable acquisitions; and (3) establishes an evaluation factor for offerors’ Sustainable Action Plans. 

2.  Background.  The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Affirmative Procurement (“green purchasing”) Plan at details the guidelines and procedures for green purchasing and encompasses the acquisition and use of: designated recycled content; energy efficient, environmentally preferred, Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT)-registered, bio-based, water efficient, non-ozone depleting products and services; and alternate fuel vehicles and fuels. 

EO 13423, “Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management” and  EO 13514, "Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance," require federal agencies to advance sustainable acquisition and ensure that 95% of all applicable new contract actions acquire products and services (with the exception of acquisition of weapon systems) that: a) are energy efficient, water efficient, biobased, environmentally preferable, and non-ozone depleting; b) contain recycled content; or c) are non-toxic or less toxic alternatives, where such products and services meet agency performance requirements.

FAR 23.1, “Sustainable Acquisition Policy” applies to all acquisitions, even covering those below the Simplified Acquisition and micro-purchase thresholds (including purchase card transactions). Also, please see other affected parts of the FAR in the interim rule entitled “Sustainable Acquisition” at (FAR case 2010-001, FAC 2005-52).

3. Applicability. While the pertinent FAR provisions apply to all acquisitions, this APM applies only to new contracts and orders above the micro-purchase threshold (due to the specific nature of our guidance) in which green products or services may be supplied or used.  Such acquisitions include, but are not limited to: office supplies; construction, renovation or repair; building operations and maintenance; landscaping services; pest management; electronic equipment, including leasing; fleet maintenance; janitorial services; laundry services; cafeteria operations; and meetings and conference services.  If after review of the requirement it is determined that there is no opportunity to acquire green products or services, the contract file must be documented and the determination must be noted in the solicitation.

4.  Guidance:

Reporting and Tracking Procedures -- The systematic collection of green purchasing information will facilitate data population in DCIS and lessen the OPDIVs/STAFFDIVs’ administrative burden as it relates to measuring progress against and meeting the 95% sustainability requirement established in FAR 23.103 (and the same 95% goal under both the HHS Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan and the OMB Sustainability Scorecard).  Contracting activities are responsible for inputting reliable purchase data into DCIS/FPDS-NG using Fields #30 and #31 in a timely manner. (Please see Attachment 1 for screen shots).  The data entry for Field #30 shall be based on the preponderance of dollars related to the applicable green product and service category.  The DCIS User Manual shall be updated to reflect the Environmental Product and Service Codes defined in Attachment 2.    

Incorporation of a Solicitation Provision – Contracting Officers shall incorporate the solicitation provision at 352.223-71 ”Instructions to Offerors – Sustainable Acquisition” in all applicable new contracts and orders in which green products or services may be supplied or used (i.e., within the scope of FAR 23.1).  This provision requires offerors to submit a Sustainable Acquisition Plan in their technical proposal that addresses the environmental products and services to be delivered under the resulting contract.  The Contracting Officer shall incorporate the final Sustainable Acquisition plan into the contract.   (Please see Attachment 3 for this provision and its associated prescription.)  When conducting a technical evaluation of quotations or proposals under FAR Part 8 or 16.5, the provision of 315.304(c) applies.

Evaluation of Sustainable Acquisitions – Sustainability must be included as an evaluation factor in all applicable new contracts and orders.  The method for evaluating the factor (e.g., pass/fail, go/no go, adjectival descriptions or point values) and its relative importance are within the discretion of the Contracting Officer.  Before deciding on the evaluation method and relative importance of the factor, the Contracting Officer should consult as needed with the Project Officer and cognizant OPDIV Green Procurement Manager.  If a decision is made to use the adjectival evaluation method, the Contracting Officer may use the sample evaluation descriptors in Attachment 4. 

5.  Impact on the HHS Acquisition Regulation (HHSAR): The HHSAR changes in Attachment 3 of this APM are hereby authorized.  The following parts of the HHSAR are affected:

  • Part 304 –  Administrative Matters, Subpart 304.6 -- Contract Reporting
  • Part 315 – Contracting by Negotiation
  • Part 323 – Environment, Energy and Water Efficiency, Renewable Energy Technologies, Occupational Safety, and Drug-Free Workplace
  • Part 352 – Solicitation Provisions and Contract Clauses.

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Attachment 1
APM 2011-05

DCIS Data Element Description for Field 30 and 31


Enter the code that describes green products and services purchased with this action.  See DCIS Field 30 at  


Enter the net amount of funds (in dollars and cents) obligated or de-obligated by this transaction, that are related to green products and services.[1]  If the net amount is zero, enter zero.  If the net amount is a de-obligation, enter a minus sign in the addition to the net amount.  See DCIS Field 31 at

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Attachment 2
APM 2011-05


A.        Recycled Content Products

Recycled content products are products that are made from or contain recovered materials. That means replacing virgin materials with recycled materials, including post-consumer materials. There are currently more than 60 designated products in eight categories: paper and paper products, vehicular, construction, landscaping, park and recreation, transportation, non-paper office, and miscellaneous products.  Examples of designated products include structural fiberboard, printing and writing papers.  The current list of designated products, EPA’s guidance, and related technical information can be found on EPA’s web site at

B.        Energy-Efficient Products:  Energy Star®,FEMP-Designated, and Low Standby Power

EPAct of 2005, Section 104 and FAR 23.203 require federal agencies to purchase Energy Star® qualified or Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP)-designated products when procuring energy-consuming products. 

The technical requirements that each product must meet to become Energy Star® qualified are available at ENERGY STAR Qualified Products : ENERGY STAR.   Information on FEMP-designated products can be found at  Information on low standby power products can be found on FEMP’s web site at:.

C.         Biobased Products

Biobased products are products determined by the Secretary of Agriculture to be commercial or industrial products (other than food or feed) that are composed in whole, or in significant part, of biological products or renewable domestic agricultural materials and forestry materials.  Examples of USDA-designated biobased products include mobile equipment, hydraulic fluids, roof coatings, diesel fuel additives, and towels. USDA is responsible for implementing the BioPreferredSM procurement preference program.  Information on these designated products, USDA’s guidance, and related documentation can be found at USDA’s web site at  (The FAR is being revised to require that Federal agencies procure designated items composed of the highest percentage of biobased content practicable [FAR Case 2010-004].)

D.        Environmentally Preferable Products and Services

Environmentally Preferable Products (EPP) are products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose.  This comparison may consider raw materials acquisition, production, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, reuse, operation, maintenance, or disposal of the products or services.  Examples of environmentally preferable products include cleaning products that are non-toxic, non-volatile, and biodegradable; and paint with no or low volatile organic compounds.  This program is managed by EPA which maintains a database of products and specifications defined by federal, state, and local agencies, and other nations. The database can be found at along with EPA’s Guidance on the Acquisition of Environmentally Preferable Products and Services located at

E.         Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) Products

EPEAT is a tool for evaluating the environmental performance of electronic products throughout their life cycle.  EPEAT is intended to help purchasers in the public and private sectors evaluate, compare and select desktop computers, notebooks and monitors based on their environmental attributes. EPEAT also provides a clear and consistent set of performance criteria for the design of products, and provides an opportunity for manufacturers to secure market recognition for efforts to reduce the environmental impact of its products.  Available at:

F.         Water-Efficient Products

A water-efficient product is in the upper 25% of water efficiency for all similar products, or is at least 10% more efficient than the minimum level meeting U.S. Federal Government standards. Examples of products that have met the EPA WaterSense label include: high efficiency toilets, sink faucets, showerheads, urinals, and landscape irrigation systems.  Information about the WaterSense Program is available at

G.        Non-Ozone Depleting Substances

E.O. 13423 and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Implementing Instructions require that each agency give preference to the purchase of non-ozone depleting substances, as identified in EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program. FAR23.803 states that agencies shall give preference to the procurement of alternative products that reduce overall risks to human health and the environment by lessening the depletion of ozone in the upper stratosphere.  It further requires that in preparing specifications and purchase descriptions, and the acquisition of supplies and services, agencies shall comply with the requirements of the Clean Air Act and substitute safe alternatives to ozone-depleting substances. 

SNAP provides lists of acceptable and unacceptable substitutes in the following sectors: fire suppressants, aerosol solvents and propellants, refrigeration and air conditioning equipments, and adhesives and coatings.  SNAP is managed by EPA.  Information about the SNAP Program is available on

H.        Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Alternative Fuels

Under EPAct, alternative fuel vehicles are defined as any dedicated, flexible-fuel, or dual-fuel vehicle designed to operate on at least one alternative fuel.  As defined by EPAct, alternative fuels are substantially non-petroleum based fuels and include (but are not limited to) the following: ethanol at a 85% blend or higher (E85); liquefied petroleum gas (propane); compressed natural gas (CNG); biodiesel; electricity; hydrogen; and P-series fuels.  DOE’s FEMP manages this program. Information on these federal fleet requirements can be found at

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Attachment 3
APM 2011-05

Proposed HHSAR Changes



304.602 General

(a)(3)(i) To measure compliance with sustainable acquisition requirements, contracting activities shall ensure that sustainable acquisitions are recorded accurately and timely in DCIS using the pertinent green procurement fields.



315.304(c) Evaluation Factors and Significant Subfactors. 

A solicitation in which green products or services may be supplied or used (i.e., within the scope of FAR 23.1, Sustainable Acquisition Policy) shall include a separate evaluation factor for sustainability.  The factor may be in the form of a technical evaluation criterion or a mandatory qualification criterion, as appropriate.  The method of evaluation and relative importance of the sustainability criterion shall be agreed to by the Contracting Officer, Project Officer and the OPDIV Green Procurement Manager.    



323.7101 Actions Required.

Contracting activities.  The contracting officer shall insert the provision 352.223-71 Instruction to Offerors - Sustainable Acquisition in all solicitations (above the micro-purchase threshold) for sustainable acquisitions in which green products or services may be supplied or used -- i.e., within the scope of FAR 23.1 and one or more of the following Federal sustainable acquisition preference programs: Recycled Content, Energy Efficient, Biobased, Environmentally Preferable, Electronic Product Environment Assessment Tool, Water-Efficient, Non-Ozone Depleting Substances, and Alternative Fuel Vehicle and Alternative Fuels.  If there is uncertainty as to whether the purchase is a sustainable acquisition, the Contracting Officer shall consult with the Project Officer or the OPDIV Green Procurement Manager.



As prescribed in 323.7101, the contracting officer shall insert the following provision:

352.223.71 Instructions to Offerors – Sustainable Acquisition

(a) Offerors must include a Sustainable Acquisition Plan in their technical proposals that describes their approach and the quality assurance mechanisms in place for applying FAR 23.1 Sustainable Acquisition Policy (and other federal laws, regulations and Executive Orders governing green purchasing) to this acquisition. 

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Attachment 4
APM 2011-05


Proposal qualities

ExcellentDocuments compliance with relevant environmental laws and regulations to acquire supplies and services that promote energy and water efficiency, advance the use of renewable energy products, and help foster markets for emerging technologies. Implements cost-effective contracting preference programs promoting energy-efficiency, water conservation and the acquisition of environmentally preferable products and services (e.g., computer monitor, desktop computer, notebook computer and personal computer products.  Minimizes the procurement of materials and substances that contribute to the depletion of stratospheric ozone.  Gives preference to the procurement of alternative chemical, product, and manufacturing processes that reduce overall risks to human health and the environment by lessening the depletion of ozone in the upper atmosphere. Reduces paper use and acquires paper containing at least 30% postconsumer fiber.
GoodDocuments compliance with relevant environmental laws and regulations and commits the organization to more aggressive actions such as: Develops and implements innovative policies and practices to reduce scope 3 GHG emissions in HHS operations. Manages existing buildings to reduce energy, water, and materials consumption. Implements and achieves objectives in EPA's Stormwater Management Guidance.  Reduces paper use and acquires paper containing at least 30% postconsumer fiber. Minimizes the acquisition, use, and disposal of toxic and hazardous materials.  Employs environmentally sound practices for the disposition of all agency excess or surplus electronic products.  Procures Energy Star and FEMP-designated electronic equipment.  Continues implementation of existing Environmental Management System (EMS) programs.
FairDocuments existing programs that meet relevant environmental laws and regulations and proposes modest further steps.
PoorMerely states that the offeror will comply with relevant environmental laws and regulations, or describes programs that merely comply with relevant laws. 


OMB/OFPP Memorandum "Improving Sustainable Acquisition and Reporting" 10-05-201

Back to HHS Acquisition Policies

[1] E.g. If the total obligation is $500,000 and the dollar amount related to green products and services is $75,000, enter $75,000 as the green product and services dollar amount.