Federal, State and Local Government Buildings

With more than 350,000 energy- utilizing buildings and 600,000  vehicles, the federal government is  the nation’s largest energy consumer. Energy used in buildings and facilities represents about 38% of the total site-delivered energy use of the federal government, with vehicle and equipment energy use accounting for 62%. From Executive Order 13834: Efficient Federal Operations: Efficient Federal Operations, agencies are to “ensure that new construction and major renovations conform to applicable building energy efficiency requirements and sustainable design principles; consider building efficiency when renewing or entering into leases; implement space utilization and optimization practices; and annually assess and report on building conformance to sustainability metrics” (DOE).

Buildings of these types include:

  • Business or Group B Building Types
  • Governmental Office Buildings (post office, police station, fire department, etc.)
  • Federal Buildings (courthouses, administrative offices, etc.)
  • Military Bases


High Performance Guidelines for Federal Buildings

The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP)
The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) provides three types of support services to help agencies design, comply, and track progress toward the implementation of the 2016 Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings, which were issued by the Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ) on February 26, 2016. FEMP works with its stakeholders to enable federal agencies to meet energy-related goals, identify affordable solutions, facilitate public-private partnerships, and provide energy leadership to the country by identifying and leveraging government best practices (DOE).


The Guiding Principles include 2 categories: Existing Building and New Construction/Modernization. Through this program for federal buildings, both project types include similar categories and metrics, for example: employing integrated design principles, optimizing energy performance, protecting and conserving water, indoor air quality, reducing the environmental impact of materials, and assessing and considering climate change risks. Each of these categories are broken down to provide specific metrics in which the designer can choose to include in the building design.


Office of Federal High-Performance Buildings (OFHPB)
Created by Congress through the Energy Independence & Security Act (EISA 2007), the Office of Federal High-Performance Buildings develops best practices, guidance and tools for government-wide use. OFHPB advances Federal building innovations in planning, design, and operations to reduce costs, enable agency missions, enhance human health and performance, and minimize environmental impacts. OFHPB partners with the rest of GSA and other agencies and organizations to pilot, promote and implement the most promising high-performance practices, thereby reducing duplication through information-sharing and cooperation, and resulting in a government that delivers more value at a lower cost (GSA). 

The OFHPB offers resource tools to address different aspects of Federal buildings in order to operate more efficiently. This resource library includes reports, case studies, fact sheets, webinars which all include a wide-variety of building performance methods and topics. 


Public Buildings

Public buildings (buildings owned by the federal or local government) represent a significant portion of buildings in the U.S., and therefore a large potential for energy efficiency savings. Federal buildings are already required to purchase energy-efficient products, a practice that is managed through the FEMP. ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) provides resources for cities and municipalities interested in implementing energy-efficient practices.


North Carolina: State Government Case Study

North Carolina Museum of Art

Source: Trane/Ingersoll Rand

The North Carolina Museum of Art was experiencing wide fluctuations in temperature and humidity levels, with swings of 30 percent humidity in the winter and up to 60 percent in the summer. What might have been a mere annoyance for another type of facility was a liability for the museum. Variations in climate could cause canvases to expand and contract, leading to premature aging, and hinder the museum’s ability to host national traveling art exhibits with strict environmental requirements. Although facility managers knew the state’s budget did not afford the funds needed for system improvements, they also knew that without upgrades, the museum could potentially be an “artificial aging chamber” for its works of art. Besides preserving its treasures, the museum’s objectives included reducing its operational costs, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, as part of a wider sustainability program.


Project Feature: Military Housing

Source: Ultra-Aire

There is no doubt that 2018 was a banner year for wet conditions across the country. These conditions can be very challenging to manage too, regardless of housing type or climate zone. The team at Ultra-Aire has been busy helping builders, architects, engineers, homeowners, property managers, developers, contractors, and even the U.S. Government, address and solve issues linked to elevated humidity levels. While there are always several contributing factors that lead to moisture buildup, multifamily housing can pose a unique challenge due to the number of occupants living in a smaller space. Case in point – military housing.


Additional Resources