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Local Topics - Energy Efficiency in Non-Governmental Buildings

Bringing Building Energy Efficiency to Your Community

Municipal operations typically only represent a small percentage of the total GHG emissions of a jurisdiction. Therefore, local governments have an important opportunity to reduce GHG emissions within their jurisdiction by promoting energy efficiency to building owners throughout the community. EPA, through the ENERGY STAR program, provides local governments with tools and resources to lead by example in their own buildings while promoting increased energy efficiency for other building types.

Promoting Energy Efficiency for Non-Governmental Buildings

Local governments can support increased building efficiency by working with community groups and considering voluntary and regulatory policies.

Work with Other Groups in Your Community: Raising awareness about the environmental and financial benefits of energy efficiency to all building owners can help local government efforts to reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions. ENERGY STAR offers tailored programs to help local officials improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions for multiple building types in their community:

  • Architects and Engineers: By 2035, 75 percent of the buildings in the United States will be either new or renovated. Architects have a unique opportunity to change the way buildings use energy and contribute to carbon emissions.
  • Commercial Real Estate: The average building wastes about a third of the energy it consumes.
  • Congregations: Most congregations can cut energy costs by up to 30% by investing strategically in efficient equipment, facility upgrades and maintenance.
  • Health care: Every dollar a nonprofit health care organization saves on energy is equivalent to generating new revenues of $20 for hospitals or $10 for medical offices.
  • Higher Education: ENERGY STAR helps institutions become environmental leaders and save money for repair and renovation, hiring of new faculty, new construction, and other core activities.
  • Hotels and Hospitality: On average, America’s 47,000 hotels spend about 6 percent of their operating costs on energy each year. Whether the facility is a large convention hotel, part of a national chain, or a small inn or motel, there are energy efficiency opportunities that will improve guest comfort, lengthen equipment life, and reduce operating costs.
  • Manufacturing and Industry: Whether making steel, refining oil, or canning vegetables, there is a lot of room for improving energy efficiency throughout the industry.
  • Schools: The annual energy bill to run America’s primary and secondary schools is a staggering $8 billion.
  • Small Businesses: Small business owners can typically save as much money and prevent as much pollution, per square foot, as large organizations.
  • Restaurants: Restaurants are energy-intensive operations due to cooking equipment, heating, cooling, lighting, and sanitation, often using five to seven times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings.

Consider Voluntary Programs and Regulatory Policies: Local governments across the country are taking bold steps to protect the environment and lower energy costs by adopting energy efficiency policies that leverage EPA’s ENERGY STAR tools to reduce energy use in commercial buildings, through both required policy measures and voluntary campaigns.



Tools and Resources

Building Upgrade Manual
The ENERGY STAR Building Upgrade Manual is a strategic guide that can help local governments implement profitable energy saving building upgrades. Governments can maximize energy savings by sequentially following the five building upgrade stages: retro-commissioning, lighting, supplemental load reduction, air distribution systems, and heating and cooling upgrades.

ENERGY STAR for State and Local Governments
Through ENERGY STAR, EPA offers state and local governments a proven platform for saving energy. EPA offers off-the-shelf resources that are ready to be tailored to your jurisdiction’s energy and financial performance goals. Learn about policies that specify the use of ENERGY STAR tools, leading by example, how to develop energy efficiency programs and policies, host energy saving competitions, and more.

Online Training
ENERGY STAR offers free online training to help local governments improve the energy performance of their operations. Training is available through a variety of formats including live web conferences, animated presentations, pre-recorded trainings, and self-guided presentations.

Portfolio Manager
Portfolio Manager is online tool you can use to measure and track energy and water consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. Use it to benchmark the performance of one building or a whole portfolio of buildings, all in a secure online environment. Portfolio Manager is the tool of choice among cities such as New York, Seattle, and Boston that have passed mandatory benchmarking laws. Not only that, but Portfolio Manager is used by the Canadian Government as the platform for their national energy benchmarking program for existing commercial and institutional buildings.

Target Finder
Local governments can use this Web-based tool to assist with energy management planning during the design phase of building construction. Target Finder allows planners to set an aggressive energy performance target for building design and compare estimated energy consumption to the established target. The tool can provide direction during the design process and facilitate the evaluation of a range of energy efficiency measures to achieve energy and cost goals.