President Obama has just solidified his lasting credentials...as being hopeful. He actually is trying to push energy efficiency inside the federal government, America's largest energy consumer. Solar Humvees in Iraq? Fewer limos with their motors running at Dulles Airport? Shut down Washington D.C. in August and turn off the air conditioners? Maybe put in energy-efficient windows in all those ugly federal buildings around the land? The U.S. government is both the country's largest real estate owner (in buildings and land both) and energy consumer.
Obama's Executive Order requires ALL new government buildings to implement net-zero energy by 2030. The bill also mandates that all federal buildings pursue cost-effective, innovative strategies to minimize consumption of energy and water. This is a huge development, and it means that energy efficient building technology will be in high demand to meet this mandate.
Optimum Energy is one of many corporations that have been waiting for this day. They hope to be selling high efficiency HVAC to those many federal buildings where the windows don't open and where the local weather is less than optimum, from Phoenix to Anchorage. Serious Materials. Hallowell. Many of the building-related industries that Heather and I have blogged should be getting into this action.
President Reagan famously took out the solar panels President Carter installed in the White House. Suspect the next pro-solar move goes to President Obama.
Some of Obama's advisors are already doubting that any energy legislation will happen this year, so this executive order from the President will be the major American effort U.S. negotiators can take to Copenhagen in December.
SOME SPECIFICS Here are some of the specific mandates for federal agencies in the Obama order:
Come up with plan for greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for 2020 within 90 days.
30 percent reduction in vehicle fleet petroleum use by 2020.
26 percent improvement in water efficiency by 2020. [This is gonna hurt the dozens of golf courses on several of our federal properties. Click here for complete list of military bases with golf courses if you want to play a round before the grass turns brown.]
50 percent recycling and waste diversion by 2015.
95 percent of all applicable contracts to meet sustainability requirements.
Implement the 2030 net-zero-energy building requirement.
Implementation of the stormwater provisions in an earlier federal law.
No mention of any new nuclear plants. It will be up to each agency apparently to determine if they will convert to LED lights or install solar panels or disconnect their elevators to the first six floors.