The D.C. government is taking steps to monitor and lower greenhouse gas emissions from municipal facilities, which are accountable for 74 percent of D.C.’s emissions. Using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR software tool, Portfolio Manager, the District can track buildings’ energy usage then compare D.C.’s results to others gathered across the country.
In 2009, 194 public buildings were benchmarked. The results, which are available to be viewed in full by the public, reported that public buildings and libraries perform somewhat below the national average while police and recreation facilities both use about 2.5 times more energy than their counterparts nationally. Fire stations also fall below the national average, consuming 60 percent more energy.
In addition to becoming greener, the District hopes that tracking energy use will help cut operating costs by pinpointing problem areas.
“…overall, public buildings in the District of Columbia perform below average compared to similar buildings nationwide,” states the official report. “This suggests many opportunities for saving energy through improvements. With an annual energy budget of $79 million for District buildings, even modest energy performance improvements can lead to significant budget savings.”
This benchmarking was prompted by the Green Building Act of 2006 and the Clean Affordable Energy Act of 2008, which establish legislative requirements for environmental performance in government buildings. Beginning in 2010, similar requirements were also placed on privately owned buildings over 200,000 square feet.