U.S. Fed cuts waste in leased space

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Andrew Burr
Institute for Market Transformation

 The U.S. government is laying the foundation for job growth, taxpayer savings and a more energy-efficient commercial building stock in 2011 and beyond.

Starting Dec. 19, 2010, Federal agencies can sign leases only in energy-efficient buildings as designated by ENERGY STAR, or when no such space is available, negotiate cost-effective efficiency improvements with the landlord.

The requirement is part of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, but the timing of it taking effect now could not be better, politically and economically. The Federal government has an enormous opportunity to demonstrate that fiscal responsibility, energy efficiency and job creation go hand-in-hand.

Locating the federal government’s 370-million-square-foot leased portfolio in energy-efficient buildings will save taxpayers millions of dollars annually that otherwise would be wasted. Moreover, requiring energy efficiency in so much space sets a de facto energy efficiency standard for private-sector commercial buildings. In addition to its size, the government is appealing to landlords for its creditworthiness and stability as a tenant.  Similar government leasing requirements in Australia have had a powerful transformative effect on the overall market.

The Institute for Market Transformation works directly with states and cities–including California, New York City, Washington, DC, and Seattle–on policies to mandate energy benchmarking via ENERGY STAR, and to enable incentives and financing mechanisms for owners to make energy improvements. Ultimately, those policies may help landlords get a head start on complying with the new leasing measures.

Click here for more detailed information in a recent article on GreenerBuildings.com.

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