In October, 2009, President Obama signed E.O. 13514 setting sustainability goals for federal agencies. The order reminded agencies of the existing requirement that buildings be designed to achieve “net zero” energy use by 2030, which means the buildings should produce as much energy as they consume. An article in NextGov highlights the General Services Administration‘s (GSA) effort to begin converting existing facilities to attain net zero usage. The GSA aims to be a sort of “proving ground” for new green technologies and processes.
According to the article, the new norm in the future will be net-zero, and GSA is starting down that path. Steve Leeds, the agency’s senior sustainability officer said GSA has announced plans to convert two existing buildings to net-zero status. One is the Wayne Aspinall Federal Building and Courthouse in Grand Junction, Colo., which will become the nation’s first net-zero historic building. The second is the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry in California, the nation’s busiest border crossing, which will be net-zero by 2014. When those two federal buildings are complete, they will bring to eight the number of net-zero buildings nationwide both private and public.
While “green” has been a hot topic for a number of years, we are clearly beginning to see real movement in deploying the technologies that make efficiencies possible. “Net zero” is fast becoming the standard by which success is measured as opposed to simple energy savings. Achieving this will likely take a multi-faceted approach as no single method or technology will make this possible. Look for continued growth in this sector and consolidation among players as agencies look for “one stop shops” to help deploy the variety of energy efficiency approaches. Also, vendors with retrofitting capabilities will have the advantage over those geared for new construction only.