Results Show City Could Save Millions
Washington, DC -- The District of Columbia has released one of the first municipal surveys of public buildings energy performance in the country. The survey, which benchmarked the performance of 194 District government buildings, revealed that many of the buildings performed below or significantly below comparable buildings nationwide, the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) announced today. The benchmarking of energy use in libraries, schools, police stations, administrative offices and other public buildings for FY’09 identified many opportunities to improve energy performance and save the city money. The District Government currently spends approximately $79 million, each year, on energy use in public buildings.
The benchmarking, conducted by the Department of Real Estate Services (DRES) in coordination with DDOE, tracked energy use in District public buildings using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager benchmark tool. Portfolio Manager compares a building’s energy performance to that of similar buildings across the country using a 0 to 100 performance scale (with 50 representing the national average) or by comparing energy use intensity (EUI) per square foot. The District’s schools, on average, scored a 29 on the 0 to 100 scale. This means that District schools were significantly less energy efficient than schools nationwide. The District’s office buildings and libraries performed close to the national average. Fire stations used approximately 60 percent more energy than the national average. Police stations and Parks and Recreation facilities used 2.5 times more energy than the norm.
“The results of this benchmarking should be an eye opener for all of us,” says Christophe A.G. Tulou, Director of DDOE. “Poorly performing buildings waste energy, pollute the environment, and literally send public dollars out window. With these benchmarking results, we have set a baseline to start improving the energy efficiency of all municipal buildings.” DDOE’s recent Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions revealed that 59 percent of the government’s greenhouse gas emissions come from public building operations. Buildings account for 74 percent of the District’s total greenhouse gas emissions city-wide.
“Benchmark results for FY’09 confirm our own assessments,” says DRES Director Robin Eve Jasper. “The District’s public buildings have for too long been neglected as proper focus has not been placed on building energy performance. We are paying for past neglect, but we see great potential for improvement and cost savings.”
The District is gearing up to address energy efficiency issues in many of its buildings. Using U.S. Department of Energy stimulus funds, DRES will conduct 260 energy audits in 2011 and 2012 to identify the building systems and components that are causing poor performance. The Office of Public Education Modernization (OPEFM) is designing and building new schools and major school renovations to the US Green Building Council LEED for Schools Silver standard or better, and is incorporating energy saving measures into smaller renovations and upgrades.
“These proactive measures will save the District a lot of money in the long term,” says Director Tulou. “And, simultaneously help to build our economy by providing green job opportunities for local firms and contractors.” The District will expand ENERGY STAR benchmarking to private buildings, beginning in 2011.
The District of Columbia was the first city in the nation to match a public requirement with one for private buildings. “This will be a great way to move the market, making energy performance a publicly shared piece of information among potential tenants and buyers of commercial buildings,” says Tulou. Owners of private buildings over 200,000 square feet will be required to submit energy benchmark results for their buildings starting in 2011, for energy performance in 2010. Size requirements will become progressively smaller each year, until all private buildings over 50,000 square feet are required to be benchmarked by the District.
For more information on the District’s energy benchmark initiative and to view the results of the District’s analysis, visit the Energy Benchmarking.