Saturday, December 06, 2008
Obama & Federal Building Energy Performance Contracting
President-elect Barack Obama intends to use some of the money in his economic recovery plan to make public buildings more energy efficient. He could start by working with the Congress and the Architect of the Capitol to cogenerate (produce electricity and hot water/steam) at the Capitol Power Plant. The same retrofit should be implemented at the General Services Administration (GSA) heating plants and the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. This will hopefully provide a good example for retrofitting other federal buildings all over the USA.
Then the entire federal government should be placed under Energy Service Performance Contracting. This shared energy savings approach allows contractors to make 'front-end' energy efficiency investments with payback and profit coming from energy savings. CECE President Norris McDonald cowrote the first legislation with the National Association of Energy Service companies in 1985 (Federal Shared Energy Savings Act--amending the National Energy Policy and Conservation Act) to allow federal agencies to engage in such contracting. The legislation was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in April 1986. President Obama should accelerate this unique public building retrofit program to serve as a model for the private sector.