Federal Facilities

The federal government is a major consumer of products that use and supply energy. In 2008, the federal government used 1.1 percent of the 99.3 quadrillion Btu of energy used in the United States (PCAST, 2010). The government owns or operates 3.5 billion square feet of buildings space and a fleet of 600,000 vehicles. Most federal government buildings are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense (DOD) and the General Services Administration (GSA). Executive Order 13514 was issued on October 5, 2009, to encourage the federal government to use its purchasing power to accelerate the introduction of more energy efficient technologies in its facilities. There have also been recent studies from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST, 2010) and the National Research Council (NRC, 2011) recommending the government use its purchasing power. The PCAST study recommended that “the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) should develop criteria for determining life-cycle costs and for including social costs in evaluating energy purchases” (PCAST, 2010, p. 20) for its building assets.

DOD and GSA are taking steps to align themselves with the Executive Order. In the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) the Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics has responsibility for overall energy use. On May 5, 2011, a memorandum to the facility directors of each of the services was issued describing the Defense Logistics Agency’s sustainability and energy efficiency policy. This included a schedule of technologies, including LEDs, necessary to meet the 2015 goal to reduce energy density by a minimum of 50 percent compared to ASHRAE Standard 90.1 2010, as discussed in Chapter 2. Although OSD issued the overall policy, it is up to the services and ultimately the base commanders for implementation. The base commander is responsible for the final purchasing decision. The bases are currently being required to reduce their energy consumption by 10 percent.

Except for DOD facilities, GSA owns, leases, and operates all of the federal government facilities except for those of the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) laboratories, and the Veteran’s Administration’s hospitals, to name a few. Approximately 50 percent of GSA space is owned, while the rest is leased space. Of 9,000 properties in 2,800 communities, about 8,000 are leased properties. Most of these are 10,000 square feet or less and are often part of a larger building. These 8,000 buildings use less than 50 percent of the energy used in federal government buildings. GSA is implementing a program that all owned or leased buildings over 10,000 square feet will have to incorporate energy efficient products during build or retrofit. They are converting the prescriptive standards to performance standards for specific services and components. GSA will not dictate the technologies to be used to meet the target.

FINDING: Government agencies that manage building assets can play a larger role in helping the deployment of energy efficient SSL.

RECOMMENDATION 6-8: The Office of Management and Budget should develop criteria for determining life-cycle costs and for including social costs in evaluating energy purchases and incorporating this methodology into agency procurements.

Public Funding of Applied Energy R&D

To highlight the role public funding can play in supporting industry development, one can look at the role DOE had in advancing energy technologies and helping move them in to the marketplace.

A study by the NRC assessing the benefits and costs of DOE’s R&D programs in fossil energy and energy efficiency reported that, in the aggregate, the benefits of federal applied energy R&D exceeded the costs but observed that the DOE portfolio included both striking successes and expensive failures (NRC, 2001). Follow-up studies by the NRC to develop a methodology for estimating the prospective benefits of DOE R&D efforts determined that future success will depend on a number of factors, “including uncertainty about the technological outcome of a program, uncertainty about the market acceptance of a technology, and uncertainty about future states of the world” (NRC, 2005, p.2). DOE’s SSL program has sponsored more than $120 million R&D activities over the past 10 years. While DOE is the primary funding agency for SSL, the Office of Science and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) have also provided funding for some novel programs. With the exception of DOE and ARPA-E funding and some states funding, there has been very little investment in SSL by other governmental entities.

Large academic programs at the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), California Lighting Technology Center (CLTC) at University of California, Davis, and the Solid State Lighting and Energy Center (SSLEC) at University of California, Santa Barbara, have established strong public-private partnerships. Numerous other U.S. universities have strong research efforts in LED lighting. In terms of scientific publications, the United States, Japan, and China are leading globally.

Although it is difficult to assign benefits to collaboration, these processes can directly lead to technological breakthroughs and advance innovations.

In 1998, NYSERDA funded creation of the LRC at RPI. NYSERDA helped establish the LRC through a competitive grant solicitation. NYSERDA and Niagara Mohawk (now National Grid) helped establish the LRC’s Partners Program beginning in 1988, and the number of partners has grown over time to a high of 15, in 2003, from government, utilities, manufacturers, and foundations from around the world. Today the LRC has 35 full-time faculty and staff and 15 graduate

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement