Rising Stars

Hetal Jain: Transportation's sustainability monitor

Hetal Jain does not identify herself as an IT person, but technology plays a big part in her work to help the Transportation Department reduce its environmental footprint and increase efficiency.

She is responsible for tracking the performance of sustainability efforts across DOT's 10,000 facilities and more than 55,000 employees. Collecting, analyzing and understanding data are essential to that mission.

"You cannot manage what you do not measure," Jain said. "It's especially true for sustainability."

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She used a Web-based tool developed by the Environmental Protection Agency to establish a real-time view into DOT's level of resource use by tracking information on teleworking, water use, energy use, employee travel, recycling, pollution and more. The data stream also incorporates information from smart meters that can track energy use down to the level of individual floors in office buildings.

Jain then created a plan to increase awareness of smart-meter savings and encourage DOT employees to turn off their office lights and power down their computers when leaving for the day.

She has also been instrumental in helping to reduce business travel in part by increasing DOT's use of videoconferencing. Jain organized the department's sustainability awards in May, and all of the out-of-town participants took part in the ceremony without having to travel to Washington, D.C., which earned Jain plaudits from a White House environmental executive.

She continues to track and share information on reductions to DOT's environmental footprint, which helps keep the sustainability mission a priority. "Data is how we communicate to our senior leadership about where we are," she said.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is a staff writer covering Congress, the FCC and other key agencies. Connect with him on Twitter: @thisismaz.

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