The Federal Government manages more than 350,000 buildings and 600,000 vehicles, and is the largest consumer of energy in the country, and federal agencies have a new mandate to improve the environmental performance of these assets. A new executive order signed by President Trump directs federal agencies to manage their buildings, vehicles, and operations to improve energy performance, reduce waste, and cut costs.
The executive order directs “the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to streamline the broad and intricate range of energy and environmental requirements, and the complex directives on how to achieve them.”
“Last year, Federal agencies spent more than $6 billion on energy for buildings and $635 million on water,” stated an announcement from the White House about the order.
According to the White House, the executive order:
Consolidates requirements relating to energy and water efficiency, high performance buildings, renewable energy consumption, purchasing, and other aspects of managing federal facilities, vehicle fleets, and operations.
Emphasizes meeting statutory requirements, and gives greater flexibility and discretion to agencies to decide how to best improve operations and meet goals.
Encourages agencies to use performance contracting to modernize buildings and achieve energy and water goals at no upfront cost to the government.
Text of the executive order can be found here.
“President Trump’s executive order on energy efficiency last week was a stark contrast to his other energy policy moves, but a throwback to his days as a real estate mogul, when he took advantage of government energy conservation incentives to cut costs at his properties,” E&E News reporter Benjamin Hulac wrote.
The New York Times reported in January on more than 60 environmental rules that President Trump has sought to reverse, including flood building standards, environmental mitigation for federal projects, fracking regulations on public lands, and sewage treatment pollution regulations.
“Since taking office last year, President Trump has made eliminating federal regulations a priority,” Nadja Popovich, Livia Albeck-Ripka, and Kendra Pierre-Louis wrote. “His administration — with help from Republicans in Congress — has often targeted environmental rules it sees as overly burdensome to the fossil fuel industry, including major Obama-era policies aimed at fighting climate change.”