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Energy Targets for Federal Building Remain Challenging, ASHRAE Says
Federal agencies will need to make significant process changes to meet the mandated 30 percent energy reduction in federal building by 2015, according to a new report by ASHRAE.
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 strategy suggested by the report 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 would realize from long-term improved energy efficiency efforts.
Attendees reported that agencies should 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, according to the report. 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.
Education and training must also 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.