FirstFuel’s US General Services Administration Deployment | FirstFuel

"A unique application that brings together several technologies to provide decision quality data and analysis to influence investments in energy efficiency."
--Environmental Leader Product & Project Awards judge

The General Services Administration (GSA) needed a scalable way to leverage its smart metering investment across 400+ buildings. Additionally, the GSA, the second largest property manager in the US, is required by EISA 452 law to conduct audits in its largest buildings. FirstFuel’s Remote Building Analytics (RBA) platform was chosen due to its ability to identify, enable and track energy efficiency savings behind the meter in commercial buildings without on-site visits or device installations via advanced meter data analytics. FirstFuel has already identified $14 million in annual energy savings across 90 remote audits and 47 million square feet of the GSA’s real estate.

firstfuel image reducedFirstFuel first completed remote audits of the GSA portfolio during a six-week trial phase, using only interval meter data and a brief online survey from each building. The results matched or exceeded prior on-site audit results while saving the GSA 85% on expected costs, at 15% of the time expected. Then, FirstFuel building engineers discussed audit results with GSA managers and develop an efficiency implementation plan. After actions were taken and recorded on a web-based portal, FirstFuel remotely monitored and quantified energy savings to provide the GSA with a portfolio-wide view of energy reduction impact.

Throughout the initial deployment, FirstFuel helped the GSA identify $6.5 million in energy savings potential, many of these with little or no-cost operational changes. The remote audits saved the GSA more than $1 million in building analysis costs at speeds five to seven times faster than previous efforts, helping the organization meet its EISA audit requirement on time. FirstFuel also found that the GSA could be saving $14.4 million in energy, with 60% of the energy savings being operational. Specifically, FirstFuel analyzed the Reagan Building and revealed abnormal energy signatures caused by poorly controlled fans located in the building’s garage. GSA building managers were then able to control the energy spikes. This helped reduce consumption by 6.9 million GWh and saved the GSA more than $800,000 to date.

FirstFuel’s RBA platform was built to overcome the problem of scalability in energy efficiency. For the first time, they were able to track progress and investment performance across the portfolio, and see their progress toward their aggressive savings targets.

The project was significant, said one judge, because the low or no cost operational measures, without incurring the costs of large numbers of on-site audits, a real value-add because these additional savings would hugely exceed the cost of the software and its installation.