Federal agencies may have to make significant process changes to meet the mandated 30% energy reduction in federal building by 2015, according to a new report. Produced by attendees of a workshop held by representatives of the Federal Facilities Council and private sector organizations, the report details the challenges of meeting the requirements of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA).
One of the main changes recommended by attendees is alteration of funding mechanisms by Congress. Appropriators and oversight committees need to recognize that previous funding patterns may need to change, as additional upfront funds may be needed to implement energy savings, but long term costs will fall with lower energy expenditures.
One suggested strategy for funding improvement is establishing a government wide revolving fund for energy improvements and energy efficient equipment purchases, to be funded in part by the energy savings agencies, that would be realized from long term improved energy efficiency efforts. The report also mentions the hope that agencies be given greater flexibility in managing their portfolios by selling unneeded assets and retaining funds to improve existing buildings.
Technical feasibility is also a major consideration in meeting EISA’s requirements. An integrated design process for both construction and renovations is essential; bringing together appropriators, procurement officers, design and construction teams, facility managers, project managers, training teams, and building occupants from the first phases of a project can encourage the kinds of collaboration necessary to making energy saving decisions.
Other key areas of interest include:
- Education and training. These areas must be addressed, with opportunities for all agency employees with a focus on their particular roles within the organization—whether as building occupants, facilities management personnel, or procurement officers. Also, as new technologies are implemented, training—particularly of operations and maintenance staff—is necessary to assure these technologies operate at their ideal state to achieve energy savings.
- Case study development. In order to assist agencies and the private sector in developing best practices, learning from previous projects remains a key. Effective case studies of energy efficient buildings will rely on measurement and verification of energy use and other data.