Exec Order Sets Commendable Goals for Upping Fed Agencies Efficiency
Exec Order Sets Commendable Goals for Upping Fed Agencies' Energy Efficiency, but Success Requires Adequate Resources
Washington, D.C., January 30, 2007 – The Alliance to Save Energy commended the Bush Administration’s recent Executive Order (EO) 13423 increasing energy efficiency in federal agencies while also emphasizing that the EO’s ambitious goals cannot be achieved without adequate budgets, staffing, technical support, and accountability.
In particular, said Alliance Vice President for Programs Jeffrey Harris, “Congress and the administration must reverse the decline in funding and staffing for the Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program. FEMP has played a key role in helping federal agencies reduce energy waste and save taxpayers’ money.”
Harris noted that the new directive falls short of the goals set in earlier EOs, as well as of specific statutory provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct ’05). For example, the order does not reinforce EPAct Section 104, requiring agencies to purchase ENERGY STAR and other energy-efficient products, nor Section 109, requiring all new federal construction to be 30 percent more efficient than required by current model building codes.
“Executive Orders do not have the force of law or the staying power of federal regulations,” Harris explained. “So while an EO can signal an important policy direction, actual compliance by federal agencies will depend on good follow-through by top executive branch officials. It is equally crucial that the president include in his budget request adequate funding levels to allow federal agencies to meet the EO’s energy-efficiency goals, and that Congress provide full funding in appropriations bills.”
Among its notable energy-efficiency goals, the new EO directs federal agencies to:
• Reduce energy intensity in federal buildings 30 percent by 2015 (an increase from the current 20 percent goal);
• Build or renovate federal buildings “in accordance with sustainable strategies”;
• Reduce fleet vehicle petroleum use by 2 percent annually from now to 2015;
• Purchase plug-in hybrid vehicles once they are commercially available and cost-effective; and
• Enable ENERGY STAR features on all computers and monitors in federal facilities.
To ensure increased energy efficiency throughout the U.S. economy, the Alliance called on state and local governments and private industry to use the new EO as a model and commit to their own aggressive energy-efficiency goals and policies.