WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has launched a new initiative to reduce energy intensity across its nationwide facilities by 30 percent, saving about $90 million in taxpayer money per year.

The federal government is the largest single user of energy in the United States, and DOE is the second largest energy consumer of all civilian federal agencies. DOE's new Transformational Energy Action Management (TEAM) Initiative requires that it have a plan for all facilities by 2008 to reduce their energy intensity by 30 percent; that all facilities maximize their installation of onsite renewable energy projects or optimize their purchase of renewable electricity; that the entire Alternative Fuel Vehicles fleet operate exclusively on clean, alternative fuels; and that water use be benchmarked and monitored, in order to reduce consumption 16 percent by fiscal year 2008. The new initiative places DOE on track to achieve the energy and water saving goals established by Executive Order 13423, which President Bush signed in January.

In addition, new construction, renovations, and 15 percent of existing buildings should incorporate the Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings, a common set of sustainable principles for integrated design, energy performance, water conservation, indoor environmental quality, and materials, ultimately aspiring to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification. The LEED Green Building Rating System is a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings.

To meet the goals, DOE expects to spend some appropriated funds for upfront investments in items such as advanced lighting, heating, and air conditioning. DOE will also supplement these funds by maximizing its use of alternative financing tools, including Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs) and Utility Energy Service Contracts. In fact, DOE has already arranged ESPCs with Honeywell for DOE sites across the country. Under ESPCs, contractors pay the upfront costs for energy efficiency improvements and are repaid through energy savings over the course of a number of years.

Publication date:08/27/2007