Government contractors are getting progressively concerned about a proposed rule that would require new and significantly renovated federal buildings to eliminate fossil fuel-generated energy use by 2030 — an ambitious mandate they say could derail governmentwide sustainability efforts.
The Department of Energy proposed the rule in 2010, following a little-known provision in the Energy Independence and Security Act. The bill — which President George W. Bush signed into law in 2007 — sets out national energy goals ranging from increased production of biofuels to better fuel economy in vehicles.
But within the 300-page document are a few lines outlining a particularly aggressive mandate for new federal buildings and those that undergo renovations totaling $2.5 million or more. By 2015, such buildings are required to consume 65 percent less than the fossil fuel-generated energy used in 2003; by 2030, that number reaches 100 percent less.
That mandate could stall the $2 billion in energy upgrades President Obama pledged in December, according to the Federal Performance Contracting Coalition (FPCC). Obama’s commitment called for agencies to enter Energy Savings Performance Contracts, where companies pay the upfront costs of renovations in return for the annual cost savings realized by the agency.