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Government Lead by Example Initiatives

Government facilities, fleets, and operations offer a unique opportunity for federal, state, and local governments to lead by example, incorporating energy efficiency measures into their facilities and achieving significant energy cost savings. Governments have often become leaders in energy efficiency by taking action through legislation or executive order to improve efficiency in their own buildings and vehicles. These policies help improve the environmental and economic performance of states’ assets while promoting energy conservation to the broader public.

The first major step governments can take to reduce energy use is to mandate energy savings targets in facilities and fleets. Almost every state has established energy saving targets for facilities, which require a certain reduction in energy usage by a set date. Governments may require a miles-per-gallon (MPG) requirement for vehicle fleets as well. Federal agencies, for example, are required to reduce petroleum consumption by at least 20 percent.

Another major step for governments is to use established methods to benchmark energy usage and collect energy usage data for facilities to properly target the most wasteful buildings. Once buildings are targeted, governments can enter into contracts with Energy Service Companies (ESCO) known as Energy Performance Savings Contracts (ESPCs), which allows the government to pay the ESCO with utility savings accrued after completion of the retrofit.

The implementation of energy-conservation technologies in the public sector saves money for taxpayers and promotes a vital message to decision-makers and the public that efficiency works.

⇒ Find out which states have lead by example initiatives in place with ACEEE's State Energy Efficiency Policy Database.