United Nations seeks GSA's help to save energy costs

United Nations seeks GSA's help to save energy costs

ksaldarini@govexec.com

The United Nations has joined forces with the General Services Administration to lower energy costs at its New York headquarters, GSA announced this week.

GSA's Energy Center of Expertise negotiates utility rates for federal agencies and helps agencies manage their energy use. As states deregulate their electrical markets, GSA puts together contract solicitations to purchase low-cost energy for federal agencies in each state.

In New York City, where the United Nations is headquartered, GSA solicited a contract and invited other organizations to join the contract. With more buildings on a contract, GSA can negotiate lower rates, a tactic the agency calls "strategic positioning."

"The UN is really the first non-federal organization to use the GSA's purchasing power," Mark Ewing, director of GSA's Energy Center said. "They were impressed enough with our expertise that they decided to join us."

GSA aggregated its electrical power requirements in New York with those of the UN building and awarded a contract to NewEnergy Inc. Under the arrangement, the United Nations signed an agreement with GSA to get on the contract at no charge.

In most cases GSA doesn't charge for the contract because its energy costs go down when another agency joins on, Ewing said.

The UN also signed an agreement with the agency under a program called Planet GSA to share information and experiences related to protecting the environment.

Together, GSA and the UN will save approximately $200,000 under the shared contract. Savings from such agreements are usually much higher, but the tight market in New York makes it difficult to compete, Ewing said.

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