The public seems to associate the ENERGY STAR program only with its blue emblems on consumer appliances and computers. Many FMs and building owners who utilize ENERGY STAR’s resources know better, and if the Trump administration succeeds in axing the program, they see a void of information and rising energy costs.
Among the resources on the “buildings & plants” tab on ENERGY STAR’s home page is the well-known Portfolio Manager program, the free, online benchmarking tool for any building type. The energy and water consumption of 40% of U.S. commercial buildings have been benchmarked in Portfolio Manager. The data’s value is immense for building owners looking to reduce their costs. Other ENERGY STAR resources target tenants, commercial kitchens and many other building types and activities.
The General Services Administration (GSA) is another federal agency that provides valuable information to the industry through its Green Proving Ground (GPG) program. Due to its vast building portfolio – more than 350 million square feet and 9,600 buildings in 2,200 communities across the country – GSA is in a unique position to test new technology for the building industry (which is hardly known for innovation) and mitigate the risks of implementation. Assessments have included products for energy management, envelope, lighting, HVAC and on-site generation. Published findings are available to all at www.gsa.gov.
Recommendations are both practical and detailed. For example, product evaluations specify whether a technology is suitable to replace equipment at end of life, to retrofit for immediate benefits or to use in new construction.
Government waste is colossal. Nevertheless, it is just as certain that government has a valuable role to play in the marketplace, one that benefits industry and business. Those who profess that less government is always better government can’t see the trees for their ideological forest.
Chris Olson | Chief Content Director