GSA's ARRA-Funded Green Investments Help Federal Buildings Weather the Storm
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced that its American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-funded green investments are helping federal buildings use less energy, even during harsh winters. After analyzing the energy usage data of 59 federal buildings in states that were hardest hit by this past winter, GSA found that these buildings, all of which received ARRA-funded green investments, used an average of 5.5 percent less energy compared to the winter before the projects began. These buildings saved enough energy during the winter months to supply 640 U.S. homes with electricity for a full year. In addition, a third of these buildings showed double-digit energy savings.
Ruth Cox, GSA’s Senior Sustainability Official, said:
“Even during frigid temperatures and record snowfalls, GSA’s ARRA-funded green investments are helping make federal buildings more energy efficient. 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.”
Harsh Winter Analysis
Completion Year: FY 2010
Winter Energy Cost Savings: $55,232
Winter Energy Reduction: 10.7%
Full-Year Energy Cost Savings: $263,245
Full-Year Energy Reduction: 20.5%
At the Robert A. Young Federal Building in St. Louis, Mo., GSA used ARRA funds to invest in a complete retro-commissioning study to ensure proposed energy upgrades most effectively reduced operation and maintenance costs, as well as energy demand. The resulting project installed advanced metering systems to track energy consumption, repaired building façade and windows, upgraded HVAC systems and controls, and retrofitted the building with efficient LED lighting. The project further offset energy use by installing a renewable energy photovoltaic system on the roof, which converts sunlight to electricity. Additional case studies can be found here.
- Building Set: The building set was made up of 59 buildings located in cities that experienced harsh winters, and received ARRA-funded green investments completed before November 2012.
- Harsh Winter: Cities home to GSA buildings that had an average monthly temperature of at least three degrees below the normal monthly average, or had a month with at least five heating degree days more than average during the FY 2014 Winter (November 2013 – March 2014) met the definition of “harsh winter”. The definition applied to the District of Columbia, and cities in the following seven states: Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, and Pennsylvania.
- Energy Usage Intensity: The average energy usage intensity (EUI) of the 59 buildings was 5.5 percent lower over the harsh winter months in FY 2014 as compared to the same months in FY 2008. Of the 59 buildings analyzed, 20 reduced their winter energy usage intensity by 10 percent or more between FY 2008 and FY 2014. EUI is calculated by dividing total energy usage (i.e. chilled water, gas, electricity, steam, oil) by total number of square feet.
- Baseline Year: The FY 2008 winter (November 2007-March 2008) was used as the baseline because it was the last winter before the ARRA projects began. Normal weather conditions are based on NOAA’s 1981-2010 observed average temperatures.
About GSA’s ARRA-Funded Projects
The Recovery Act allocated funds for GSA to convert federal facilities into high-performance green buildings, and to address deferred maintenance needs and necessary facility upgrades. GSA has 447 federal buildings with completed or ongoing ARRA-funded projects. These projects are expected to reduce energy consumption by 19 percent and yield annual energy cost savings of $62 million once all are complete.