The US General Services Administration (GSA) and other agencies have an opportunity to transform the net-zero energy (NZE) market and create a roadmap for NZE building transformations around the country, according to a Rocky Mountain Institute blog post.
In September 2014, a GSA task group recommended that at least half of the GSA and federal government’s building area achieve NZE status by 2030. The GSA’s Green Building Advisory Committee (GBAC) approved the recommendation unanimously; however, the GSA and other agencies have not yet approved it as formal agency policy. Implementing the NZE goal could encourage the generation of over 500 MWh of renewable energy for the GSA by 2030. If applied to the entire federal government, it would have 10 times the impact.
State and national support for NZE is growing. California’s Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan has mandated that 50 percent of all existing buildings in the state reach NZE by 2030, and President Obama issued Executive Order 13514, which requires that all new federal buildings meet NZE by 2030.
The GSA is also growing its expertise in NZE building transformations. It completed a deep energy retrofit at the historic Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building and US Courthouse in Grand Junction, Colorado, in 2009, and it provides NZE resources to its facility managers. For example, it helped the Army build a plan for its flagship NZE military installation of Fort Carson.
The GSA currently controls more than 2 percent of commercial real estate in the nation. If it were to build a substantial NZE portfolio, it could drive the innovation that would make large-scale NZE possible and inspire commitments from other agencies and private-sector players.
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