The Howard M. Metzenbaum U.S. Courthouse in Cleveland, Ohio, is one of hundreds of federal buildings that received funding under the 2009 Recovery Act.

The Howard M. Metzenbaum U.S. Courthouse in Cleveland, Ohio, is one of hundreds of federal buildings that received funding under the 2009 Recovery Act. GSA file photo

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GSA Credits Recovery Act for Energy-Efficient Buildings

Fifty-nine federal facilities averaged a 5.5 percent drop in energy use last winter, one of the harshest in years.

The much-debated 2009 economic stimulus funding for “green investment” in federal properties has resulted in notable reductions in energy consumption and costs, the General Services Administration announced on Wednesday.

Case studies of 59 properties in states hardest hit by cold temperatures last winter showed an average drop in energy use of 5.5 percent, as compared with the winter before the buildings were renovated, GSA said.

Under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, federal building managers were able to retrofit many buildings with improved heating and cooling systems, repair windows, install LED lighting and use advanced tracking meters to achieve significant savings.

The savings was documented despite record snowfalls and unusually frigid temperatures in many regions, noted Ruth Cox, GSA’s senior sustainability official. “As the frequency of extreme weather events trends upward, it is important that federal buildings are able to meet the needs of occupants while also being cost-effective to operate.”

GSA provided case studies of progress on three of the retrofitted buildings.

GSA counts 447 federal buildings that have used Recovery Act funds to complete or continue green renovations. Eventually, they are expected to reduce energy consumption by 19 percent and yield annual energy cost savings of $62 million.

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