The U.S. General Services Administration has announced its Net Zero Renovation Challenge, which aims to get the private sector to improve the energy performance of federal buildings through the use of energy service performance contracts.
In the challenge, 16 energy services companies who already provide ESPCs to federal agencies will retrofit plans for approximately 30 federal buildings across the country.
These projects will be evaluated by a panel of independent experts based on energy savings, financial and technical innovation and applicability to other federal buildings. The winning entries will be awarded the ESPCs, as well as future ESPCs.
Under such contracts, a private sector energy services company develops and installs energy improvements. The building owner – in this case the federal government – then repays the energy company for the capital expenditure over a maximum 25-year period from the resulting energy savings, allowing building owners to retrofit properties without any upfront cost to them.
In 2009, President Obama issued an Executive Order aimed at reducing the energy consumption and greenhouse gasses emissions of the federal government.
In other green building news, FedEx has unveiled 175,000-square-foot vegetated roof at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. It is the size of three football fields and is the largest continuous vegetated roof at an airport in the U.S., the company says.
The delivery company hopes the roof will lower energy costs by 35 percent a year and extend the life of the roof by up to 50 years.