Nearly 200 Federal Buildings Grow Less Green

 The Eisenhower Executive Office Building used 23.6% more energy in 2012 than in 2011, at an additional cost to taxpayers of $338,735. The Eisenhower Executive Office Building used 23.6% more energy in 2012 than in 2011, at an additional cost to taxpayers of $338,735. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Some federal buildings are becoming more environmentally friendly and saving thousands of dollars of taxpayer money in the process. Others not so much.

Fifteen federal buildings won commendation in the 2012 Energy Star National Building Competition for exceeding efficiency benchmarks. The competition -- administered by the Environmental Protection Agency -- consisted of 3,000 buildings across the country, including schools, businesses and government properties.

Another 179 of the federal buildings in the competition reported negative energy efficiency ratings in 2012, meaning they used more resources for their daily operations than in the previous year, according to a Government Executive analysis of the Energy Star data. The Eisenhower Executive Office Building, for instance, which houses most White House offices, used 23.6 percent more energy in 2012 than it did in 2011, at an additional cost to taxpayers of $338,735.

An EPA spokeswoman conceded the lost ground. “These buildings serve as good reminders that maintaining good energy performance doesn’t just happen automatically,” she said in an email. “Most of us are aware in our own lives of how the pounds can creep on when you’re not paying attention. The same goes for buildings." She noted an EPA study finding commercial buildings that tracked their usage over three years reduced their consumption by an average of 7 percent.

Dan Cruz, a spokesman for the General Services Administration, attributed some of the additional energy consumption to renovations. “A variety of factors could have contributed to a building's increase in energy use, like construction projects and occupancy changes for example," he said. "As construction projects and renovations were completed in some of these facilities, energy use increased as tenants moved back in and the buildings returned to full occupancy. The renovation work itself can also contribute to greater energy use at the site for the duration of the project." 

The Eisenhower Executive Office Building has been under major construction for years. 

Among federally owned buildings lauded for their green efforts, the Martin Luther King Jr. Courthouse in Newark, N.J., and the San Antonio Federal Building reported the greatest reductions in energy use -- 36.8 percent and 34.4 percent savings, respectively. Twenty-four GSA-owned buildings became 20 percent more efficient, according to the Energy Star data.

All buildings eligible for recognition in the competition had their data verified for the baseline and comparative periods (calendar years 2011 and 2012) by a licensed professional engineer or registered architect, EPA said. 

The federal 15 buildings that received commendations saved taxpayers a combined $961,470. Individually, the buildings saved between $1,305 for the U.S Border Station building in North Troy, Vt., and $371,720 for a GSA warehouse in Franconia, Va.

“GSA is proud to have so many of our buildings meet top rankings in such a wide competition,” the agency’s Public Buildings Service Commissioner Dorothy Robyn said in a statement. “We are using variety of strategies to make our existing buildings more energy efficient, and they are paying off.”

This story has been updated with additional comment. 

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:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


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