Energy Fund to be Introduced

Two Senators are planning to introduce legislation to create a revolving fund for agencies to use to make their buildings more energy efficient.

Speaking at Johnson Controls' eighth annual Energy Efficiency Forum in Washington last week, Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., announced he will co-sponsor a bill with Wisconsin's other Senator, Herb Kohl, to create a permanent revolving fund to finance agencies' energy efficiency projects.

Under the legislation, an amount equal to eight percent of agencies' total utility payments in each fiscal year would be appropriated to capitalize the fund in fiscal years 1998-2000. After that, the Secretary of Energy would determine an amount necessary to ensure that the fund met its obligations.

Agencies could apply for loans from the fund to finance energy efficiency projects, which would be required to use commercial, off-the-shelf technologies. Agencies would have to repay the loans with interest.

In 1994, President Clinton issued an executive order requiring agencies to reduce their energy use by 2005 by 30 percent compared with energy use in 1985. Agencies currently rely on the Federal Energy Efficiency Fund for funding for energy efficiency projects.

"The problem with the current fund, which operates as a grant program for agencies to make efficiency improvements, is that it does not contribute to the replenishment of capital resources because it does not have to be paid back and is therefore dependent upon appropriations," Feingold said.

A Kohl spokeswoman said the senators would introduce the legislation after the July 4 recess.

Meanwhile, the Energy Department is encouraging agencies to use performance contracting methods, under which the agencies ask energy service companies to cover the up-front costs of improving a federal building's energy efficiency. In return, the companies earn a portion of the savings agencies realize from the improvements.

Energy's Federal Energy Management Program has also launched an energy education campaign for agencies called "You Have the Power." The program's Web site offers energy efficiency success stories from across government.

Feingold said he believes the federal government should push for energy efficiency by "leading by example."

Joseph Romm, acting assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, agreed.

"It is not our job to cross our fingers and hope that the best occurs," Romm said. "It's our job to identify credible threats to the future living standards of the American people and take cost-effective action, and obviously energy efficiency and renewable energy is at the top of the list."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.