Today the NAM, several member companies and a number of other organizations sent President Obama a letter expressing our strong support for the continuation of the administration’s effort to reduce the federal government’s energy consumption. The federal government is the largest single user of energy in this country and many federal buildings are in need of upgrades and improvements.
In 2011 the President issued a Presidential Memorandum directing agencies to use $2 billion of private sector financing and expertise to upgrade federal buildings. Under this directive federal managers could utilize energy savings performance contracts (ESPC) and utility energy service contracts (UESC) to purchase energy efficiency upgrades by using gains from energy savings. ESPC and UESC pose no risk to the federal agency because the results are guaranteed and the contractors assume the risks.
To use a military term , the federal government is a “target rich” environment for these upgrades. A number of energy audits have been completed by federal agencies and to date more than $9 billion in addressable energy efficiency measures have been identified, and no doubt there are still more that will be identified in the coming years. We would like the President to again challenge the Executive Branch to identify and contract for $1 billion each year for the next five years in energy saving projects using performance-based contracting. The letter also request that the Executive Branch identify and develop a “best practices” program so that individual agencies can share their successes and their challenges.
We think this makes a lot of sense. This effort will keep the momentum going in the agencies, it will allow the federal government to improve and modernize infrastructure, and it will enhance energy security. All this and it will be done by using energy savings and not with appropriated tax payer dollars.
Manufactures have been leaders in energy efficiency both in the manufacturing of equipment and the utilization of equipment. We understand that a kilowatt saved is a dollar saved. Lowering our energy consumption not only allow us to better utilize our financial resources and but in many instances it helps us to be more productive using less energy. These savings impact the bottom line and help manufacturers to be more competitive in the global economy. Being energy efficient is simply smart!
Chip Yost is assistant vice president of energy and resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers.