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GSA Challenges Private Sector to Reduce Energy Use at Federal Buildings

October 20, 2011
Dan Cruz, 202-441-0607

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. General Services Administrator Martha Johnson announced GSA’s Net Zero Renovation Challenge. The new initiative challenges the private sector to improve the energy performance of federal buildings through the use of Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs), aiming for net-zero energy use. ESPCs are a way to leverage private funding for building retrofits.

“In Executive Order 13514, the President challenged government to lead by example in environmental, energy and economic performance. Now GSA is challenging the private sector to partner with us to go above and beyond what has been done before in federal building renovations. We want the private sector to provide us with their most innovative, cost effective solutions to maximize energy and cost savings,” said GSA Administrator Martha Johnson.

Under an ESPC, a private-sector energy services company develops and installs energy improvements such as energy efficient lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, and more efficient roofs, walls, doors and windows. The building owner then repays the energy company for the capital expenditure over a maximum 25-year period from the resulting energy savings. After the capital expenditure is repaid, the building’s owner then realizes the energy savings for the life of the building.

“Federal buildings are built to last. ESPCs provide the federal government with decades of lower utility bills without an upfront investment. The approach just makes good sense, especially when budgets are tight,” said Johnson.

In the challenge unveiled today, 16 energy services companies who already provide ESPCs to federal agencies will now present the best retrofit plans for approximately 30 Federal buildings across the country. These projects will be evaluated by a panel of independent experts based on energy savings, financial and technical innovation and applicability to other federal buildings. The winning entries will be awarded the ESPCs, as well as additional ESPCs in the future.

President Obama’s Executive Order 13514 on Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance requires agencies to meet a number of energy, water, and waste reduction targets in existing federal buildings. The Executive Order also directs that the design of all planned new federal buildings beginning in 2020 achieve net-zero energy use by 2030.


As the federal government's workplace solutions provider, the U.S. General Services Administration works to foster an effective, sustainable and transparent government for the American people. GSA’s expertise in government workplace solutions include:
• Effective management of government assets including more than 9,600 government-owned or leased buildings and 215,000 vehicles in the federal fleet, and preservation of historic federal properties;
• Leveraging the government’s buying power through responsible acquisition of products and services making up approximately 14 percent of the government’s total procurement dollars;
• Providing innovative technology solutions to enhance government efficiency and increase citizen engagement; and,
• Promoting responsible use of federal resources through development of governmentwide policies ranging from federal travel to property and management practices.

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