Federal managers seek to trim energy costs

klunney@govexec.com

Federal energy managers gathered in Pittsburgh earlier this week to identify energy and water efficient products that will save the government money and protect the environment.

The Energy 2000 conference, sponsored by the Energy Department's Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), was held last week in Pittsburgh, Pa. and included energy management professionals from the federal sector and private industry.

FEMP seeks to reduce pollution and increase energy and water efficiency at federal facilities. Under Executive Order 13123, issued by President Clinton in 1999, the federal government must reduce its energy consumption by 30 percent from 1985 levels by 2005 and by 35 percent by 2010.

In April, Department of Energy Secretary Bill Richardson announced that the federal government has reduced energy use in its buildings by 20 percent since 1985, one year ahead of schedule. The energy savings are calculated using fiscal year 1999 data from the 30 largest federal agencies.

Government buildings account for one half of the government's total energy cost, which adds up to about $8 billion annually. The Defense Department is the largest single energy user in the nation, spending over $6 billion on energy in fiscal 1998.

In addition to the conference, FEMP sponsors annual awards for agencies that implement energy efficiency improvements. Last year the Walter Reed Army Medical Center was recognized for saving more than $675,000 annually by installing new energy-efficient chillers, motors, and boilers, among other items.

Winners for the 2000 award will be announced shortly on the FEMP Web site.

Conference attendees learned best practices on topics ranging from collecting energy data to using cutting edge technologies to create effective energy-efficiency programs. The General Services Administration and the Defense Department co-sponsored the event, which featured environmentally-friendly conference materials printed on vegetable- and soy-based inks.

"GSA has made every effort to encourage environmental responsibility at Energy 2000, and is institutionalizing green meeting principles at other events such as this," said Paul Lynch, Environmental Executive for the U.S. General Services Administration.

For more guidance on how to buy energy-efficient products, see FEMP's Product Efficiency Ratings.

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