The U.S. federal government is one of the largest energy consumers in the world, but that consumption is declining. The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) shows total delivered-to-site energy use by the federal government fell to 0.96 quadrillion Btu in fiscal year (FY) 2013, the lowest recorded level since 1975, the earliest year for which data are available.
Energy consumed in federal government facilities has generally been declining over the past four decades. The reduction is due to both the total square footage occupied by the federal government, which continues to fall from its peak in FY 1987, and from the energy consumed per square foot inside federal buildings, which has been declining since FY 1975.
After reaching a record low in FY 2000 of $9.4 billion (adjusted for inflation), energy costs for the federal government generally increased over the next 13 years — FY 2013 total energy costs were $24 billion. Since most energy used by the federal government is petroleum based, the price of crude oil is a large factor in overall energy costs.
Several sustainability goals currently affecting energy consumption by the U.S. government were established by the Energy Independence Act (EISA) of 2007, which set requirements for federal agencies, including:
- Reduce energy intensity in buildings by 3 percent each year, or by a total of 30 percent, by FY 2015 relative to an FY 2003 baseline.
- Reduce energy consumption from fossil fuels in any new federal buildings acquired or currently-owned buildings undergoing extensive renovations by 65 percent in FY 2015 and work toward the goal of a 100 percent reduction by FY 2030 relative to an FY 2003 baseline.
A subsequent executive order issued by the president in 2009 further required federal facilities to:
- Meet guidelines on energy efficiency, water efficiency, and environmental impacts in 95 percent of the new contracts undertaken for products and services.
- Reduce potable water consumption intensity by 2 percent each year, or by a total of 26 percent by FY 2020, compared with an FY 2007 baseline.