The federal initiatives for energy efficiency continue to be prevalent in our Nation, affecting the infrastructure in which we work and live, and the tools our communities use every day.
These initiatives are in response to Executive Order 13834 which requires the federal government to promote building energy conservation and management, improve agency water use efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To support the requirement, agencies develop baseline data for setting and tracking sustainability goals, and provide an annual report of the results to the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
This has opened the door to more opportunities for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to meet many energy challenges facing federal agencies.
Executive Order 13834 requires OMB to prepare scorecards on Federal agency performance on energy efficiency and sustainability. The annual scorecards are based on data, metrics, and scoring criteria that agencies provide regarding their energy management activities, energy and water savings, greenhouse gas emissions, and associated cost reductions. Performance is assigned a green, yellow, or red score for each goal area.
To meet the Sustainable Federal Building (SFB) goal on the scorecard, each agency provides SFB data in accordance with the Federal Real Property Profile (FRPP) requirements documenting whether or not the building has been assessed and whether or not it meets the SFB guiding principles. The guiding principles focus on five areas for both new construction and existing buildings: employ integrated design, assessment, operation and management principles in new or existing buildings, optimize energy performance, protect and conserve water, enhance indoor environmental quality and reduce environmental impact of materials.
The USACE sustainability scorecard currently shows “red” and zero percent complete for the SFB compliance goal, meaning that the agency was not on track to attain compliance with the guiding principles. USACE implemented a SFB compliance program in October 2014 by adopting UFC 1-200-02, High Performance and Sustainable Building Requirements, as the USACE guidance on obtaining guiding principle compliance.
Leading the charge in this national effort, is the Fort Worth District. The district is conducting sustainable building assessments for selected USACE owned buildings throughout the United States.
Albert Rice, the Fort Worth District’s sustainability project coordinator, said the Corps of Engineers currently has approximately 312 buildings totaling 6.2 million square feet. By fiscal year 2025, the Corps of Engineers is targeting 0.9 million square feet of sustainable federal buildings for compliance.
To date, the District has assessed more than 124 sites at seven districts and divisions, such as the San Francisco Bay Model and the New Orleans District Headquarters – the largest USACE owned building.
“The assessments are the first step in getting all USACE owned buildings over 5,000 square feet assessed. After the assessments, recommendations for obtaining compliance are provided to the project coordinators. Cost savings and energy efficiency go hand in hand and are key goals of the USACE Sustainability Program,” added Rice.
USACE is and will continue its commitment to compliance with applicable environmental and energy statutes, regulations, and Executive Orders.