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State and Local Climate and Energy Program

Lead by Example Case Studies

Assisting Local Governments


The California Energy Commission's (CEC's) Energy Partnership Program offers technical assistance to cities, counties, and hospitals by helping these local groups identify opportunities to improve energy efficiency in buildings. The program provides such technical services as conducting energy audits, preparing feasibility studies, developing equipment performance specifications, reviewing existing proposals and designs, reviewing equipment bid specifications, and assisting with contractor selection and commissioning. The CEC also helps identify state loans and other financing sources for project installation.

In addition, the CEC's Energy Efficiency Financing Program provides low-interest loans to schools, hospitals, and local governments to fund energy audits, feasibility studies, and energy efficiency measures. The interest rate is 4.5 percent, and the maximum loan per application is $3 million. Recipients who complete their projects within 12 months of the loan and meet all requirements specified in the loan application receive a reduced interest rate of 4.1 percent. The repayment schedule is negotiable up to 15 years and is based on the annual projected energy cost savings from the aggregated projects.


The Facility Conservation Improvement Program enables local governments to use an energy service performance contract to access financing for planning and implementing LBE activities. The state program has a master agreement with four pre-approved ESCOs that provide services ranging from activity identification and assessment to design management. Leases for energy savings activities through the program are tax-exempt to benefit the public agencies, and the interest paid by the lessee is exempt from federal and Kansas income tax.


Maryland operates the Jane E. Lawton Conservation Loan Program (JELLP) - which recently replaced the Community Energy Loan Program (CELP) - to provide local governments, nonprofits, and businesses with financial assistance to reduce operating costs associated with energy efficiency upgrades (e.g., technical assessments, plans and specifications, and construction costs). Eligible projects include those that save energy and have a simple payback of seven years or less. Energy savings generated by efficiency upgrades can be the major source of loan repayment. Currently, the program funds nearly $1.5 million in new projects each fiscal year; a total of 58 loans have been made providing more than $15 million for energy efficiency improvements, with cumulative energy savings of more than $20 million.

New Jersey

New Jersey's Clean Energy Program administers the Clean Energy Financing for Schools and Local Governments program, which offers financial incentives and low-interest financing to schools and governments to develop energy efficiency and renewable energy generation projects. The program combines a rebate program with incentives and financing, giving schools and local governments the flexibility to implement cost-effective projects immediately.

New York

As part of its Energy $mart initiative, NYSERDA administers the New York State Local Government Energy-Efficient Product Procurement Program (GEEP-NY) to provide local governments with tools, education, and guidance to assist them in purchasing or leasing ENERGY STAR equipment. Resources include fact sheets, case study briefs, demonstration projects, an electronic resource center, a model for estimating savings potential, a "how-to" guide, and PowerPoint briefings.


The Oregon Department of Energy provides technical assistance to public schools and local governments by conducting energy audits, assessments, and design reviews. Through its Building Commissioning Program, the department helps train building operators to improve building documentation, detect potential energy deficiencies, and tune up building control systems. Resources include commissioning handbooks and a toolkit that guides public school and local government building managers through the commissioning process.

In addition, the State Energy Loan Program (SELP) provides low-interest loans for public, residential, and commercial energy efficiency activities (including projects in schools, cities, counties, Indian tribal communities, and state and federal agencies). Eligible activities include energy production from renewable resources, using recycled materials to create products, using alternative fuels, and installing energy saving technologies such as energy-efficient lighting and weatherization. Limited funds are also available for energy evaluations for schools and public buildings. As of December 2007, 765 loans exceeding $420 million had been made through SELP. Of these, more than 200 loans were made to municipal organizations. Loan terms vary from five to 15 years. The program is self-supported (using no tax dollars) and most loans are designed so the energy savings from the project equal the loan payment.


The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has developed communication materials (including a website and a PowerPoint presentation) to provide energy conservation assistance to local governments, and assists local governments in developing energy management plans based on initial evaluations of energy efficiency improvement opportunities. The website contains a list of information and resources on conservation and energy efficiency measures, alternative energy approaches, and financial incentives.

DEP also has developed a handbook for local governments, developers, and businesses that describes the DEP's financial and technical assistance programs across a range of environmental and energy topics.


Administered by the Texas State Energy Conservation Office (SECO), the Schools and Local Government Program provides services to help public school districts, colleges, universities, and nonprofit hospitals establish and maintain energy efficiency programs through school partnerships, energy management training workshops, and direct energy-related services.

The school partnerships component of the program includes activities such as helping schools establish student-involved energy projects and developing energy-related educational materials. The energy management training workshops cover both the administrative aspects of clean energy LBE programs (e.g., energy accounting and retrofit financing) and the technical aspects (e.g., energy management technologies and building design). Direct technical support is provided through facility-related services that address energy accounting, energy-efficient facility O&M, indoor air quality, water conservation, and comprehensive energy planning. SECO also offers a Preliminary Energy Assessment Service to assist energy managers in reducing costs, increasing available capital, spurring economic growth, and improving working and living environments. The assessment service offers recommendations for energy efficiency upgrades at no cost.

West Virginia

The Building Professionals Energy Training Program, administered by the West Virginia Development Office, disseminates information concerning current energy codes and building technologies to local government officials and county and school facilities managers. With the assistance of DOE, program staff organize training seminars covering topics such as "Overview of the 2000 International Building Codes," "High Performance Schools," and "ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager."

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Combined Heat and Power


Since 2002, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has been providing technical assistance and support for CHP projects throughout the state. The agency, a partner in the EPA CHP Partnership, provides local governments, businesses, and institutions with assistance in identifying existing CHP projects and resources and developing future potential CHP applications. The agency has worked with the Midwest CHP Application Center and the University of Chicago to develop the 2003 Illinois CHP/BCHP Environmental Permitting Guidebook, which presents guidance for expedited permitting for CHP applicants in the state. The agency was also represented on a steering committee that led the first statewide CHP conference in 2002. On a regional scale, the agency works through the Midwest CHP Initiative to promote CHP throughout the Midwest.


Kent State University, a partner in EPA's Combined Heat and Power Partnership, has received the Ohio Department of Development's Award for Excellence in Energy, as well as the 2007 ENERGY STAR CHP Award for its operation of two generators that supply both power and heat to the University. The generators combine to supply 13 MW of electricity, matching nearly 90 percent of the university's electricity in winter months and about 60 percent of the university's electricity in summer months. Steam recovery units installed with the generators capture 60,000 pounds of steam per hour to be distributed to campus facilities, providing for 55 percent of the school's heating demands.The system operates at 71 percent efficiency and achieves a 19 percent energy consumption reduction compared with separate heat and power systems. EPA estimates that the system reduces CO2 emissions by approximately 13,000 tons annually.


Since 1998, campus space at the University of Texas-Austin has increased by over 2 million square feet and energy demand has increased by more than 8 percent. However, due to the university's continual investment in combined heat and power (CHP), fuel consumption since that time has increased by only 4 percent.

The most recent addition in 2004 included expansion of an existing natural gas-fired combustion turbine and heat recovery steam generator system. With the installation of a 25 MWe (megawatts-electric, often distinguished from megawatts-thermal in CHP applications) steam turbine, the renovated system produces up to 61 MWe of electricity, 280,000 lb/hr of steam, and 150,000 lb/hr of boiler feedwater. The steam and hot water are used for space heating, space cooling, domestic hot water, boiler preheat, and process steam in 160 campus buildings.

To maximize efficiency and overall performance, the system uses operational management software developed by Lightridge Resources. With an estimated operating efficiency of 60 percent, the University of Texas at Austin's CHP system requires approximately 24 percent less fuel than typical onsite thermal generation and purchased electricity. Based on this comparison, the system reduces CO2 emissions by an estimated 136,000 tons per year.


In 2003, the governor of Wisconsin announced a public-private partnership to build a combined heat and power (CHP) plant near the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus to provide 150 MW of power and meet the space heating/cooling needs of the university's facilities. The CHP plant, which became operational in 2005, can achieve 70 percent efficiency and reduces energy consumption (compared to separate heat and power systems) by 10 percent to 15 percent. The CHP plant reduces NOx emissions by 80 percent and CO2 emissions by 15 percent.

The state Department of Administration worked with a private electric utility to design a facility that meets the university's needs, provides reliable power for residential and commercial businesses in the area, and produces fewer emissions than conventional heat and power systems. The department negotiated with the utility to include the CHP plant development in a package of clean energy projects that also included installing 37 PV fixtures on campus. In addition, the utility agreed to provide additional fuel discounts to the state that could yield savings approaching $100 million over 30 years.

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Communications and Outreach


The Colorado Governor's Office of Energy Management and Conservation's Rebuild Colorado offers a variety of technical services to state agencies and institutions, cities, counties, schools, and other local governments. Services include Energy Management Training Workshops for State Agencies, which are monthly, 90-minute, teleconferences for facilities and maintenance staff of state agencies and higher education institutions. Sessions are held on a variety of topics in energy management, including, for example, retro-commissioning.

In addition, through its Employee Sustainability and Pollution Prevention Incentive Awards Program, Colorado offers recognition to state employees who excel in promoting the goals and objectives of Executive Order D005 05, Greening of State Government. Selection criteria include:

  • Degree of innovation
  • Longevity of outcome (i.e., length of impact)
  • Potential for environmental results and improvements
  • Level of impact
  • Application to Executive Order goals
  • Effect on public awareness of opportunities for incorporating sustainable practices


A key reason for the success of the Massachusetts State Sustainability Program has been the ability of the lead LBE agency, the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (EOEA), to successfully develop contacts with key state agency personnel. This process involved engaging high-level EOEA officials to contact each of the agency commissioners and ask them to appoint sustainability coordinators. EOEA also develops contacts with building facility directors and key finance staff. To date, EOEA has been able to obtain the support of key personnel in 50 of the largest state agencies, with the largest potential clean energy impacts. One effective approach for gaining support from these key personnel involved highlighting the non-environmental benefits (e.g., cost savings, personnel savings) in addition to the environmental and energy benefits of the program.


Vermont's 2005 state plan includes a chapter describing ways to obtain buy-in from state agency staff through education, promotion, and communication, including to:

  • Explain why the state LBE program is critical to reducing global warming; what state policies, laws, and agreements have been instituted; and how to implement LBE plans and strategies
  • Provide statistics on past and present electrical and heating fuel usage as compared to targeted energy usage goals

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Designing and Implementing Programs


The Massachusetts State Sustainability Program developed a planning and implementation guide for state agencies that articulates the program's goals and offers specific strategies for agencies and employees to increase sustainability in state government. The guide is organized according to five LBE program areas: climate change/energy efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, sustainable design, water conservation, and environmentally preferable purchasing. It includes a five-step sustainability plan template and a sample action plan worksheet to help agencies identify sustainability activities and the key staff necessary to ensure program success. The guide directs state agencies to prioritize and select LBE measures based on: overall cost, potential environmental impact, payback period, and ease of implementation. The guide serves as a foundation from which agencies can develop sustainability plans and encourages agencies to incorporate their own ideas into the program, with the aim of producing greater interest in the program's effective implementation.

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Energy Efficiency


In 2007, Arizona passed legislation requiring the state's largest agencies to reduce energy consumption per square foot by 30 percent by July 1, 2020 based on FY 2002 levels. To help meet this goal, the legislation included a requirement that all new state-funded buildings be designed to meet LEED certification. The new Arizona Department of Environmental Quality building was designed to achieve optimal energy performance with minimal impact on the environment. Using a 25-year lease-to-own financing agreement, the agency was able to use a life-cycle costing approach in designing the building. Building design energy efficiency and renewable energy measures include:

  • A reflective roof to minimize "heat island effect"
  • Variable frequency drives for motors
  • Lowe glass to reduce reliance on cooling system
  • Efficient lighting, including dimmers and LED exit signs
  • Electrical system with ENERGY STAR transformers
  • A 100-kW PV system connected to the grid

The energy efficiency, renewable energy, and green measures incorporated into the building's design have earned it both LEED-Silver certification and the ENERGY STAR label.


California Executive Order S-20-04, issued in 2004, established a number of energy efficiency goals for public and commercial facilities, including state government buildings and schools. Among these goals was a directive to state agencies to reduce grid-based energy purchases for state-owned buildings by 20 percent by 2015 from 2003 levels.

An Green Building Action Plan that accompanied the executive order directed the California Energy Commission (CEC) to coordinate with EPA to develop a system to benchmark and track energy consumption in state facilities. The CEC developed a system based on the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool and tailored to California's unique needs. In August 2008, the state reported that it had benchmarked more than 100 million square feet of its facilities, which revealed a 4 percent decrease in energy consumption in state facilities since 2003.

In addition, a bill passed by the state legislature in 2007 will make it easier for state agencies to update energy consumption data for benchmarked facilities. Assembly Bill 1103 requires electric and gas utilities in the state to maintain at least 12 months of data for all non-residential buildings to which they provide services, beginning in 2009. This data must be maintained such that it can be uploaded into Portfolio Manager at the building owner's request.


The Poudre School District in Fort Collins, Colorado began an energy management program in 1994 with a goal of reducing energy costs district-wide. As part of this program, the district has implemented nearly 150 energy efficiency upgrades through 2007, producing annual energy cost savings of nearly $440,000.

To help evaluate and track district-wide energy performance, the district has used ENERGY STAR tools to benchmark each of its buildings. As of FY 2007, 17 schools and two administrative offices had earned the ENERGY STAR label, including the new Operations Building. This building's design integrated a number of energy efficiency measures, including daylighting, automated lighting systems with dimmers, on-site solar electricity generating panels, and a geo-exchange heating system.

To achieve optimum energy efficiency measure integration, the design team used EPA's ENERGY STAR Target Finder tool to set energy targets multiple times during the early stages of the building design process. These early evaluations allowed the design team to use Target Finder's energy simulation software to make adjustments to building orientation, envelope, materials, internal systems, and equipment. As the design process progressed, the team was able to achieve consistent design performance ratings in the 80s. The building was completed in 2002, and after 12 months of energy use data were compiled, the building earned a rating of 97 on the EPA national energy performance rating system, qualifying the building for the ENERGY STAR label. In 2005, the Operations Building achieved a perfect rating.


The Hawaii Lead by Example Initiative began in 2006 with an executive order directing state agencies to improve energy, water, and resource efficiency in their facilities. The order established a green building policy, mandating that all state-funded newly constructed and renovated buildings be designed to meet LEED certification and achieve LEED-Silver certification where possible. To ensure that these buildings achieve superior energy performance, the state is following a strategic energy management approach that involves benchmarking, conducting whole-building energy audits, and recommissioning buildings in stages. In addition, a state energy coordinator is working to achieve energy performance certification for several state buildings through EPA's ENERGY STAR program. Through 2007, four state government buildings had earned the ENERGY STAR label.

The Hawaii Lead by Example Program also is providing innovative solutions to the end-use efficiency strategy of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI), a partnership established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the State of Hawaii on January 28, 2008. The goal of the HCEI is to achieve a least a 70 percent clean energy basis for Hawaii within a generation.


The Michigan Department of Management and Budget is working to implement an energy savings plan with the goal of reducing energy expenditures in department-managed facilities by 10 percent by 2009, based on 2002 levels. This plan, which involves coordinating with the Department of Labor and Economic Growth's Energy Office to benchmark state facilities using EPA's ENERGY STAR tools, is expected to save the state $1.6 million annually beginning in 2009.

To help state agencies reduce energy use in their facilities, the Energy Office provides assistance in securing energy performance contracts. Since 1987, the state has invested $17 million in energy performance contracts that it estimates have generated more than $22 million.

For example, Lake Superior State University (LSSU), a small public university in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, became an ENERGY STAR partner and contracted with an energy service provider to help measure, track, and benchmark its energy performance, develop and implement a plan to improve its facilities and operations, and educate its staff and the public about its ENERGY STAR program and achievements. This process identified 184 facility improvement measures providing total annual energy and operational savings of almost $430,000 with a payback of about 11 years. The improvements included lighting retrofits, mechanical retrofits, steam trap retrofits, roof and window replacements, water saving measurements, and other enhancements to the 42 building campus.

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The Minnesota Energy Security and Reliability Act of 2001 requires that new buildings receiving state bond funding be designed consistent with sustainable building design guidelines developed by the Departments of Administration and Commerce. The state legislature determined that these guidelines should require buildings to exceed existing energy codes by at least 30 percent. The resultant State Sustainable Building Guidelines are adapted from LEED rating system requirements. Preliminary analysis of three new state buildings constructed according to the guidelines indicated that the buildings' sustainable measures would result in a combined estimated reduction of more than 2.5 metric tons of air pollutants such as CO2, NOx, and SOx.

The guidelines are part of the broader statewide Buildings, Benchmarks, and Beyond (B3) project, through which the state is working with EPA's ENERGY STAR program to improve the energy efficiency of its own buildings and the buildings of the state's public school districts. The state government is a participant in the ENERGY STAR Challenge, with a goal of improving energy efficiency by 10 percent. These LBE efforts will contribute to the governor's Next Generation Energy Initiative, issued in 2006, which sets a goal of 1,000 ENERGY STAR commercial buildings throughout the state by 2010.


Created by the governor in 2007, the 20 X 10 Initiative calls on executive branch agencies to reduce their energy consumption by 20 percent by 2010, based on 2007 levels. Agencies can achieve this goal following various paths, but the state encourages them to adopt an energy management strategy that first capitalizes on the savings provided by measures with short payback periods. Specifically, state agencies are encouraged conduct a comprehensive energy audit of their facilities, and then focus on improving the energy efficiency of their operating practices (e.g., making adjustments to lighting and heating settings) and purchasing ENERGY STAR-qualified equipment.The state Department of Environmental Quality is collecting past energy bills and using these data to assess each agency's baseline energy performance. In addition, this database will be used to provide agencies with regular energy use reports so they can track their progress in reducing energy consumption. The state's executive branch agencies spent approximately $12 million on energy in its baseline year (2007), meaning the initiative could potentially save the state $2.4 million in 2010.

New Mexico

In 2006, the governor of New Mexico issued an executive order that requires new and renovated public buildings to meet energy-efficient green building standards. The executive order requires adherence to the LEED-Silver standards in new and renovated public buildings that are greater than 15,000 square feet and/or use more than 50 kW peak electrical demand. These buildings, and smaller new and renovated buildings between 5,000 and 15,000 square feet, must also achieve a minimum energy performance standard of 50 percent of the average consumption for that building type.

The 2006 building performance standards have become an essential component of the state's strategy for meeting the energy use reduction goal established by executive order in November 2007. This second order created the state government Lead by Example Initiative and directed all executive branch agencies to reduce energy use in state government buildings by 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2015. To ensure that the state's green buildings contribute to the energy goal, the state is developing a database to track government facility energy use. In addition, as a participant in the ENERGY STAR Challenge, the state is working with EPA's ENERGY STAR program to benchmark its facilities and train its facility managers to use ENERGY STAR tools, such as Portfolio Manager and Target Finder.

New York

Executive Order 111, "Green and Clean" State Buildings and Vehicles, signed in 2001 and re-authorized in 2007, requires state agencies to follow LEED guidelines for the construction of green buildings and to strive to meet the ENERGY STAR building criteria for energy performance. Executive Order 111 also requires that all new buildings achieve at least a 20 percent improvement in performance relative to the State Energy Conservation Construction Code. Several of New York's state agencies have partnered to develop sustainable design guidelines, including High-Performance Design Guidelines for state college and university buildings.

North Carolina

North Carolina joined the ENERGY STAR Challenge in 2005 and is working with EPA'S ENERGY STAR program to improve its facilities' energy efficiency by 10 percent. In 2007, the state legislature passed a bill requiring that the combined energy consumption for all state government buildings be reduced by 20 percent by 2010, and 30 percent by 2015, based on FY 2004 levels. The 2007 legislation also created the Sustainable Energy Efficient Buildings Program. Under this program, all new buildings greater than 20,000 square feet, and renovated buildings greater than 20,000 square feet with renovation costs greater than 50 percent of the insurance value, must be designed, constructed, and certified to exceed the ASHRAE 90.1-2004 Standard by 30 percent (for new buildings) and 20 percent (for renovations), and must be commissioned to verify energy-efficient design. The bill includes a provision that after one year of operation, the new building energy performance must be verified. If at this time energy performance is 85 percent or less than the target, corrections and modifications must be explored.

The Sustainable Energy Efficient Buildings Program is a component of the state's Utility Savings Initiative, a multi-program approach to reducing utility expenditures in state buildings that involves strategic energy planning, agency personnel training, and performance contracting.

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Under its Building Commissioning program, the Oregon Department of Energy provides technical assistance to managers of both public and private facilities. The state requires recommissioning or commissioning for specified energy-related projects funded through the state's Public Purpose Fund. These projects include HVAC and direct digital control projects exceeding $50,000, boiler and chiller projects exceeding $100,000, and other energy-related projects (e.g., lighting and lighting controls, building envelope) exceeding $150,000.

Recommissioning a newly-constructed school facility in the Silver Falls, Oregon School District revealed discrepancies in the installation and operation of the HVAC systems that were causing energy costs to exceed expected costs by 32 percent. The school district estimated that the recommissioning findings and corrective actions would save approximately $15,000 per year in energy costs and that the full cost of the process would be recouped in about five years.


The Pennsylvania Governor's Green Government Council (GGGC) established a High Performance Green Building Program that focuses on education, promotion, and demonstration of high-performance green buildings. Its Guidelines for Creating High Performance Green Buildings describe how the design and construction of high performance green buildings represent the best possible course for combining environmental responsibility and economic opportunity. The Department of Environmental Protection occupies six LEED-certified buildings, and the state Housing Finance Authority and Turnpike Commission headquarters both occupy LEED-certified buildings. Six additional buildings are expected to earn LEED certification in the near future.

In implementing and reviewing the results of its High Performance Green Building Program, the state discovered that a relatively low percentage of its green buildings were achieving superior energy performance. In 2003, the state began coordinating with EPA's ENERGY STAR program and DOE's Rebuild America program to incorporate energy efficiency elements from these programs into its green building program. The state created a staff position to manage the integration of ENERGY STAR and Rebuild America with the green building program. The integration activities have included training sessions for Department of Environmental Protection staff on how to use ENERGY STAR tools to facilitate benchmarking and track the energy performance of the state's green buildings. The state is exploring the possibility of establishing a system that would mandate minimum point requirements in certain LEED categories in addition to a requirement that new state buildings receive at least 85 points under ENERGY STAR certification.


In 2007, the governor of Virginia issued an executive order committing the state government to improve energy efficiency in its facilities and operations and setting a goal for executive branch agencies and institutions to reduce the annual cost of non-renewable energy purchases by at least 20 percent of fiscal year 2006 expenditures by fiscal year 2010. To meet this goal, the state adopted a policy directing state agencies and institutions to pursue a number of activities, including:

  • Design all new and renovated state-owned facilities to meet energy performance standards at least as stringent as those prescribed by ENERGY STAR or the LEED rating system
  • When leasing facilities for state use, give preference to buildings that meet ENERGY STAR or LEED standards
  • Identify performance contracting opportunities
  • Purchase ENERGY STAR-qualified equipment and supplies
  • Implement all possible low-cost energy-saving activities (i.e., with payback periods of one year or less)
  • Pursue alternate energy procurement options

To provide guidance in implementing this policy, the executive order created an Energy Policy Advisory Council, led by a Senior Advisory for Energy Policy.


The Washington General Administration (GA) operates a Building Commissioning Program to assist publicly-owned or -operated facilities in conducting building commissioning. The GA partners with these facilities and provides resources to help them build a commissioning team, negotiate the scope of work and commissioning cost, and ensure that both new and existing buildings are designed and operated so that the operational needs are met, the building performs efficiently, and building operators are trained.

In 2003, the energy management and control system of the Washington Department of Ecology headquarters facility, which was designed in 1993 to exceed state energy code by 30 percent, received a substantial upgrade. This involved multiple improvements to the building's ventilation systems, including a new digital control system, building pressure controls, CO2 controls, outside airflow instrumentation, and interactive kiosks throughout the building to provide system feedback to occupants. Following these upgrades, the entire building was re-commissioned to ensure that all equipment was operating correctly. Once completed, these upgrades reduced the building's energy intensity to 54.6 kBtu per square foot, considerably lower than the average 82 kBtu per square foot intensity of conventional buildings. This achievement earned the building the ENERGY STAR label in 2005.


Executive Order 145, on the Creation of High Performance Green Building Standards and Energy Conservation for State Facilities and Operations, called for the reduction of overall energy consumption per square foot in state facilities by 10 percent by 2008 and 20 percent by 2010. The order required the Department of Administration to develop energy efficiency goals for state facilities and campuses for 2007, 2008, and 2009.

The executive order also directed the department to develop Sustainable Facilities Guidelines and Minimum Standards based on LEED criteria, which were published in 2007, and to work with the state Building Commission and Energy Center of Wisconsin to ensure that all new state buildings are constructed to surpass existing commercial building energy codes by 30 percent. The Sustainable Facilities Guidelines and Minimum Standards include requirements that building designs be verified before and during construction, and that building performance be verified once the building becomes operational. The Division of State Facilities ensures that buildings designed achieve their intended performance targets and reports the results of the sustainable building program to the state Building Commission twice annually.

It is estimated that the standards will reduce O&M costs for the state's 6,300 buildings by as much as 30 percent and reduce overall energy consumption per square foot by 10 percent by 2008 and 20 percent by 2010. This translates into more than $30 million in annual savings for Wisconsin taxpayers.

In addition, Wisconsin used ENERGY STAR tools and resources to systematically replace lighting fixtures in state buildings for its "Wisconsin Energy Initiative" which resulted in $7.5 million in annual energy cost savings and an emissions reduction equivalent to the emissions of 20,000 vehicles in one year. The state next pursued comprehensive whole-building retrofits in 60 million square feet of office space at a cost of $35 million which are expected to yield $11 million in annual cost savings with a payback period of less than four years.

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Establishing LBE Team and Obtaining Support


The Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority and the Department of Administrative Services worked with Georgia Power to determine state facility energy consumption levels for over 4,000 state accounts. By consolidating state accounts, they were able to obtain strategic rate changes that yielded $2.1 million in electric cost savings. This savings helped convince the governor to issue an LBE Executive Order to help achieve additional savings.


The LBE program in Massachusetts was initiated when the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs hired a director to develop a new state sustainability program (including clean energy activities) and to coordinate state sustainability LBE efforts. Several state agencies in Massachusetts were already implementing LBE activities but there was no program coordination or integration.

In talking with personnel at other state agencies, the new director discovered that while agency staff often understood the importance of sustainability it was not a priority with their supervisors. Consequently, agency personnel wanted an executive order to give them official authorization to act. The governor ultimately issued Executive Order 438, which created a Sustainability Coordinating Council to develop the State Sustainability Program, and requires all state agencies to reduce energy consumption through energy efficiency and conservation.

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Evaluating Policy Options


In its State of Nevada Energy Conservation Plan for State Government, the state's Office of Energy outlined its plan for implementing measures to reduce both total energy usage and peak energy loads in state buildings. Measures were identified based on whether they could be implemented immediately, in the short term, or in the long term, as follows:

Immediate Measures can be performed at the present time requiring no additional funding or legislative support. These include behavior modification measures such as:

  • Turn off lights when leaving a room
  • Turn down heaters for the night
  • Eliminate unnecessary appliances
  • Keep lighting fixtures, filters, and heating and cooling coils clean

Short-term Measures can be performed within the fiscal year requiring no funding in addition to current budgets and/or legislative support, including:

  • Replace incandescent bulbs with CFLs
  • Acquire photocells to automatically turn lights on and off
  • Clean and maintain filters, coils, and vents

Long-term Measures cannot be accomplished within the fiscal year and/or require additional funding or legislative support, including:

  • Perform energy audits on all buildings
  • Incorporate energy efficiency guidelines for all new construction and building retrofits
  • Purchase only ENERGY STAR equipment


The Utah Governor announced a goal of increasing energy efficiency in the state by 20 percent in 2015. This goal covers all sectors and applies to all forms of energy use. The state commissioned an analysis of 23 potential policies, programs, and initiatives for consideration in meeting its goal, including the following three LBE initiatives:

  • Adopt energy efficiency requirements for state agencies, including universities and colleges
  • Support energy efficiency for local government and K-12 Schools, including the expansion of Utah's Revolving Loan Fund
  • Implement energy efficiency education in K-12 schools


The Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services created the Comprehensive Environmental and Resource Management Program in 2003 to ensure sustainable state government operations. This program was the impetus for legislative changes leading to a revised State Agency Energy Plan for State Government issued in 2005. The plan stresses the importance of selecting and implementing LBE actions that:

  • Reduce state operating costs through energy savings
  • Reduce environmental impacts
  • Sustain existing and create new Vermont businesses that develop, produce, or market environmentally preferable products
  • Demonstrate the economic benefits of clean energy activities to other states and to the private sector


Wisconsin instituted the Wisconsin Energy Initiative (WEI) in 1992 to comprehensively address energy savings opportunities, with a goal of reducing energy use in state buildings by 15 percent. The state Department of Administration (DOA) hired an ESCO to conduct audits of energy use in state facilities and to implement improvements in the following order:

  • Installation of Energy-Efficient Lighting in State-owned Building Space. Lighting was replaced first, in part because it was easiest to implement and could be funded from the maintenance budget. In addition, it is important to upgrade the lighting system early in the building upgrade process to have a significant impact on how other building systems (especially heating and cooling systems) use energy.
  • Installation of Energy Efficient Lighting in Local Schools and Municipal Facilities. DOA worked with the Cooperative Educational School Agencies to leverage private funds to improve energy conservation in schools across the state.
  • Upgrading Mechanical Equipment. The state entered into performance contracts to upgrade HVAC, other mechanical equipment, and water-saving devices in state buildings, campuses and other institutions.
  • Upgrading Specifications for New Buildings. DOA also upgraded its specifications for new buildings to include the most up-to-date energy-savings and green technologies, including daylighting, building automation systems, heat recovery systems, and co-generation.

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Evaluation and Reporting


Connecticut established an emissions base-line forecast for each policy recommendation in its Climate Change Action Plan, set a reductions goal (with respect to the baseline), and evaluated each measure in the context of the goal. The state also established the following procedures to build on this existing analysis, track progress, and maintain support:

  • Track progress on each measure
  • Continue to calculate GHG benefits and costs
  • Continue to analyze the co-benefits of priority policy options
  • Obtain stakeholder feedback on the Action Plan and its implementation
  • Assess progress on each measure and report on results

Connecticut's progress reports include a section describing the specific LBE actions the state has taken to install clean energy systems, purchase renewable energy, construct green buildings, benchmark and reduce energy consumption in state buildings, reduce vehicle miles traveled by state vehicles, and purchase hybrid vehicles.


The Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority issued an RFP to develop an energy accounting system to track and analyze energy consumption and costs for all state facilities. The goal is to secure an in-house system that enables the state to accurately report its energy consumption and identify, initiate, and manage facility-specific or agency-wide cost savings strategies. The system will enable benchmarking of buildings against similar buildings using the EPA Portfolio Manager tool. It will also feature the ability to:

  • Create groups of similar facilities (e.g., prisons, office buildings, dorms)
  • Compare facilities (within a group and between groups) according to criteria such as cost per kWh, cost per therm, energy expenditure per square foot, energy expenditure per occupant, and energy use per square foot per degree day basis


Massachusetts established an Energy and CO2 Inventory for FY 2002 for all state agencies. Fuel consumption data were gathered and analyzed to determine total government CO2 emissions, individual agency emissions, emissions from each fuel type, and emissions categorized by end-use function (i.e., buildings and transportation). For fuel oil, gasoline, diesel, ethanol, compressed natural gas (CNG), and propane, data were collected centrally from purchasing records and vendor reports from state contracts. This was accomplished with the cooperation of the Operational Services Division, the state's central purchasing agency. Electricity and natural gas data were more difficult to obtain, since statewide contracts for these energy types were not in place. When consumption data were not available, the procurement records of cost data from the state accounting system were used to estimate consumption for those agencies. The state is working to obtain more accurate agency-by-agency natural gas and electricity consumption data in the future.


The Wyoming Business Council State Energy Office (WBC) administers the Wyoming Energy Conservation Improvement Program (WYECIP), which supports public and non-profit facility owners in using energy performance contracts (EPCs) to finance energy conservation improvement projects. WBC has established a guidance manual for facility managers on how to use EPCs and work with ESCOs. The manual includes guidelines for developing a project-specific M&V plan that includes the following information:

  • Details of baseline conditions and data collected
  • Documentation of all assumptions and data sources
  • Items that will be verified
  • Responsibilities for conducting the M&V activities
  • Schedule for all M&V activities
  • Discussion of risk and savings uncertainty
  • Details of engineering analysis performed
  • Details of baseline energy and water rates
  • Performance period adjustment factors for energy, water, and O&M rates, if used
  • Methodology for energy and cost savings calculations
  • Details of any O&M cost savings claimed
  • Definition of O&M reporting responsibilities.
  • Definition of, and format for, post-implementation, commissioning, annual, and periodic reports
  • Discussion of how and why the baseline may be adjusted
  • Definition of preventative maintenance responsibilities

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The Iowa Energy Bank combines private and public funds to finance energy efficiency improvements in state facilities by using saved energy costs to pay for the projects. The Energy Bank conducts an energy audit and engineering analysis, and negotiates financing terms with private lenders. The bank has facilitated more than $130 million in energy efficiency measures since its inception in 1989. Common energy efficiency improvements include fluorescent lamp and ballast replacement, motor replacement, exit sign replacement, pipe insulation, lighting controls, low volume toilets, biomass fuels, envelope insulation, and wind energy purchases.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire's Building Energy Conservation Initiative (BECI) uses performance contracting to pay for energy retrofits and building upgrades with the energy savings from the project, rather than depending on funding through capital appropriations. Under this program, a pre-qualified group of ESCOs submits proposals to conduct the work based on a predetermined list of energy conservation measures established by the BECI.

BECI prompted concern at the state's Treasury Department about increasing the state's debt, which could adversely affect its credit rating. State officials determined that by setting up a tax-exempt master lease program (MLP) to underwrite its performance contracts, the state could obtain lower cost financing. Because the non-appropriation language of the MLP would allow the lease to be repaid from operating funds, there would be minimal impact on the state's credit rating.

The state arranged two rounds of MLP funding for its facilities, totaling approximately $25 million. This low-cost financing enabled state officials to install a broader range of energy-efficient equipment than if they had used the financing bundled into an ESP's performance contract. As a result, more projects met the legislated payback requirements. Ten buildings have been renovated through the BECI program. Avoided energy costs for these facilities exceed $200,000 annually. When fully implemented, it is anticipated that the BECI will be responsible for upgrades in more than 500 state-owned buildings, with energy savings of up to $4 million a year. These energy efficiency improvements will reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 35,000 tons per year.

New York

In the face of escalating energy and maintenance costs, the Shenendehowa Central school district installed new energy-efficient equipment that could be paid for from future energy cost savings. With assistance from NYSERDA, they hired an energy service provider that guaranteed energy savings. Instead of bundling the financing under the performance contract, the district chose to obtain the funds directly from a commercial lender using a tax-exempt lease-purchase agreement for a 10-year term. The lease-purchase agreement contained non-appropriation language, which limited payments to the operating budget savings. This financing option allowed school officials to successfully install energy-efficient equipment without raising taxes.


Oregon's Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC), which any business and public entity can qualify for, has stimulated business investment in energy conservation, renewable energy resources, recycling, and less-polluting transportation fuels since 1980. The tax credit is 35 percent of the eligible project costs (i.e., the incremental cost of the system or equipment that is beyond standard practice). The credit is taken over five years: 10 percent in the first and second years and 5 percent each year thereafter. The unused credit can be carried forward up to eight years. Recipients with eligible project costs of $20,000 or less can take the tax credit in one year.

Through 2003, more than 7,400 Oregon energy tax credits had been awarded. Altogether, these investments saved or generated energy worth about $215 million a year. A key feature of the program is its innovative "pass-through option," in which a project owner can transfer a tax credit to a pass-through partner in return for a lump-sum cash payment (the net present value of the tax credit) upon project completion. The pass-through option allows public entities and businesses with and without tax liability to use the energy tax credit by transferring their tax credit for an eligible project to a partner with a tax liability.


The Texas LoanSTAR (Saving Taxes and Resources) Program is a self-sustaining program of the State Energy Conservation Office, which provides low-interest loans to finance energy conservation in public facilities. Loans are repaid using cost savings from verified energy reductions. Legislatively mandated to be funded at a minimum of $95 million at all times, the LoanSTAR Program had funded projects in 191 facilities as of April 2006, with energy savings averaging 15 percent, an average payback period of 5.6 years, and 3 percent annual interest rates. The program has achieved cumulative energy savings of more than $210 million and has prevented 7,073 tons of NOx, 2.1 million tons of CO2, and 4,788 tons of SO2.


In 2001, Washington passed legislation requiring state agencies to perform energy audits in their facilities. The legislation requires agencies to use energy performance contracts to conduct upgrades in facilities where audits reveal energy saving opportunities. The Washington Department of General Administration has designed a program to assist state agencies, local governments, and other public institutions in entering into energy performance contracts. The Department has formed an Energy Team to administer the program and provide program participants with a pre-qualified list of approved energy service companies, an experienced energy engineer to provide technical assistance, and assistance obtaining low-interest state treasurer financing.

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Other Activities

Connecticut - Demand Response

The Connecticut Office of Policy and Management (OPM) administers a Demand Response Program that coordinates demand response activities among eleven state agencies. OPM works with these agencies to reduce peak electrical loads during period of high demand by transferring loads to distributed generation equipment and reducing non-essential electrical loads. These actions enable ISO New England, the regional grid operator, to avoid installing additional infrastructure that would otherwise be needed to meet demand. As compensation, ISO New England provides OPM approximately $430,000 quarterly, through third-party contractors. This payment is allocated to the participating agencies for reinvestment in clean energy projects.

Colorado - Reducing Water Consumption

The Colorado Greening Government initiative developed a list of action steps for state agencies to reduce water consumption, including:

  • Implementing water efficiency awareness programs
  • Reducing non-essential water uses, including vehicle washing, decorative fountains, and routine athletic field watering.
  • Focusing on restroom water use, which can account for as much as half of total water demand, by:
    • Replacing old toilets that use 3.5 gallons per flush (gpf) with 1.6 gpf units
    • Installing water-saving aerators on faucets
    • Installing pressure-reducing valves to reduce consumption
  • Limiting allowed watering hours to times when evaporation is lowest (i.e., early morning or later in the evening)
  • Planting drought-tolerant native plants
  • Eliminating once-through cooling systems

Massachusetts - Recycling

Recycling is a cornerstone of the Massachusetts State Sustainability Program. In 2004, the state adopted a goal of achieving a government recycling rate of 50 percent by 2010. Accomplishments under this program include:

  • Between FY 2000 and FY 2002, the Operational Services Division collected 2.8 million feet of fluorescent lamps, 4,000 other mercury-containing lamps, 350 pounds of elemental mercury, and 160,000 pounds of batteries.
  • The Bureau of State Office Buildings Office Paper Recycling program recycled 640 tons of paper in FY 2002, saving over 10,000 trees.
  • The Department of Environmental Management placed 15 recycling containers next to the dumpsters at the beach entrances and heavy-use areas to mitigate contamination from improper disposal of non-recyclable materials. About 2,400 pounds of material were collected

Massachusetts - Reducing Water Consumption

Massachusetts has a goal of reducing water consumption by 15 percent in state agencies by 2010. The state plans to achieve this objective by taking cost-effective steps such as reducing outdoor water use through green landscaping techniques, replacing old fixtures, inspecting and repairing leaks, and identifying options for using reclaimed water.

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Renewable Energy


In 2001, the California state legislature passed a bill requiring the state Department of Administration, in consultation with the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission, to ensure that solar energy equipment be incorporated into designs for new state buildings and parking facilities beginning on January 1, 2003, and that solar energy equipment be installed at existing state buildings and parking facilities by January 1, 2007. Legislation in 2007 extended these respective deadlines to January 1, 2008 and January 1, 2009, respectively.

In addition, the governor issued an executive order in 2004 calling on state agencies to reduce non-renewable energy consumption by 20 percent by 2015 based on 2003 levels through a number of energy efficiency and renewable energy activities. The implementation plan for this order, the State of California Green Building Action Plan, directs state agencies to evaluate on-site clean energy generation opportunities.

The Department of General Services is coordinating efforts to meet the goal of the 2004 executive order. Since 2006, the department has directed installations of a combined 4.2 MW of PV system capacity. Electricity generated by these systems is transmitted directly to state facilities under a solar services model agreement with the local utility, which owns and maintains the systems. The state is currently planning installations of an additional combined 23 MW of PV capacity beginning in 2008. Overall, the state estimates that implementing the strategies described in the Green Building Action Plan, including developing on-site renewable energy resources, will reduce the state's CO2 emissions by 500,000 metric tons by 2010, increasing to 1.8 million metric tons by 2020.


In September of 2007, through the state's initial purchase of electric supply via a reverse auction process, Connecticut locked in 812 million kWh of supply for a two-year period through June of 2009. A subsequent auction for an additional 97 million kWh was held November 29th for supply beginning in January of 2008. The total volume under these contracts for electric supply is for 909 million kWh. Under these supply contracts, 17.5 percent of the electric supply (not including RPS) will be green power from Class I renewable sources.

Also in 2008, Connecticut conducted a reverse auction for electric supply. Contracts locked in for this period were for both three and four year periods for a total volume of 2.1 billion kWh. Under these supply contracts, 19 percent of the electric supply (not including RPS) is for green power from Class I renewable sources. When RPS requirements are factored in, 28 percent of the electricity used by Connecticut State government will come from Class I renewable sources, exceeding the 20 percent goal in Governor Rell's 2006 Energy Vision Plan.


In Maine, the governor's 2003 energy agenda established a goal for the state government to purchase at least 50 percent of its electricity from renewable power sources, using energy efficiency measures in state buildings to offset the cost of the renewable energy. This goal was originally met by a contract agreement committing over 800 state agency accounts under one service agreement. Maine has now increased its renewable energy purchase to 100 percent.


In April 2007, the governor of Massachusetts established a goal for the state to achieve 250 MW of combined solar PV capacity by 2017. As a first step towards achieving this goal, the governor created Commonwealth Solar, an initiative to provide rebates to residential and commercial electricity customers who invest in PV technology. The initiative is expected to produce more than 27 MW of PV capacity by 2011. The governor also issued an executive order on state government Leading by Example - Clean Energy and Efficient Buildings, which established a goal for state agencies to obtain 15 percent of their electricity from renewable resources (including green power purchases and on-site generation) by 2012, increasing to 30 percent by 2020.

To help state agencies evaluate their PV capacity, the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs' Lead by Example program has developed a site selection survey that enables agencies to conduct PV feasibility assessments for their facilities. A clean energy committee within the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, including members of the Division of Energy Resources, the Division of Capital Asset Management, and the Operational Services Division, is providing state agencies with technical assistance in achieving the governor's renewable energy goals.

New Jersey

In 1999, the New Jersey Department of the Treasury developed a proposal to lower state government energy costs by aggregating electricity purchases from the accounts of 178 public agencies in the state, thus enabling the group to negotiate lower energy costs through competitive bidding in the state's recently deregulated market. At the same time, the governor issued a mandate that state government agencies obtain at least 10 percent of their power from renewable resources. Combining the two initiatives resulted in a purchase of nearly 500 million kWh of green power over 52 months. This quantity of energy covers approximately 12 percent of the overall electricity requirements for the agencies' facilities. The effort has resulted in an estimated avoidance of 168,948 metric tons of CO2 emissions, which is equivalent to removing 32,490 cars from the road for one year.

In cooperation with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, the Bayonne Board of Education installed nearly 10,000 solar panels at the local high school and eight elementary schools that have a combined 2 MW of electricity generation capacity, enough to power 200 small homes for 30 years. The $13.2 million project was made possible in part due to assistance from the state's Clean Energy Program, which provided $5.4 million in solar equipment and installation credits. The project is expected to save the school district more than $500,000 yearly in avoided electricity costs. Additional benefits include reduced reliance on fossil fuels, reduced pollution, and decreased strain on the grid.

New York

New York's Executive Order 111, adopted in 2001, establishes a comprehensive LBE energy efficiency and renewable program. The order requires that all state entities meet 20 percent of their annual electricity needs with renewable energy sources by 2010. Also, at least 50 percent of new light-duty vehicles must be alternative-fueled vehicles by 2005, and 100 percent of all new light-duty vehicles (with the exception of specialty, police, or emergency vehicles) must be alternative-fuel by 2010.


The Oregon Renewable Energy Action Plan, adopted in 2005, contains a number of policy goals and recommended actions for increasing the amount of renewable energy in the state. Included in this plan are several goals for increasing the amount of renewable energy used by state facilities through purchasing green power and by generating renewable energy on-site. Specifically, the plan directed the state Department of Energy to pursue opportunities to install solar water heating, solar electric, and passive solar technologies at all new public facilities.

In 2007, the state passed legislation to enforce this activity. House Bill 2620 requires that 1.5 percent of the total contract price of a new facility or major renovation be spent on solar technologies. This requirement became effective in January 2008, and the state Department of Energy has published proposed rules to implement the legislation. The rules include information on project eligibility, eligible costs, available solar technologies, use of funds, and reporting requirements.


The governor's Policy to Advance Energy Efficiency in the State calls on the state government to establish programs to install on-site renewable energy sources to reduce energy consumption by 2 percent by 2015 compared to 2005 levels. The governor's office is currently working in coordination with the Utah Geological Survey and the State Energy Program to fund a 1.28 kW solar power and demonstration project at the Department of Natural Resources facility in Salt Lake City. Installation of the solar panels was conducted in conjunction with a six-day course on the benefits of solar technology.


Included in an executive order to reduce non-renewable energy consumption across state government agencies was a directive for the state Senior Advisor for Energy Policy periodically to assess the cost-effectiveness of incorporating PV system installations in any roofing retrofit for buildings over 5,000 square feet. Where PV system installations with a payback period of 15 years or less are feasible, the Department of General Services will be required to implement the measure.


Western Washington University adopted an initiative, introduced by the Students for Renewable Energy, to establish a student fee to purchase green power for the campus. At $1.05 per credit per quarter, the fee is expected to provide enough revenue to supply all 35 million kWh of the school's 2005-2006 electricity demand with clean energy.

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Setting Goals


California Executive Order S-20-04 established an LBE goal of reducing grid-based energy purchases for state-owned buildings by 20 percent by 2015, compared to a 2003 baseline. The Order and an accompanying Green Building Action Plan directed the California Energy Commission to develop a methodology for establishing an energy-use benchmarking system that is simple, California-specific, and coordinated with the ENERGY SMART benchmarking system.

The CEC established an interagency Green Team to ensure progress toward these goals and hired a contractor to execute the benchmarking effort. The contractor worked with the state and California utilities to create ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager accounts for each agency and facility (which include data on energy use, square footage, year built, and identification of meters), develop a data release form for all state agencies to sign, allowing utilities to automatically upload energy data to Portfolio Manager, and establish the data base. California anticipates that by the first quarter of 2008, the 2003 baseline will be completed and that utilities will continue to regularly upload energy consumption data to enable comparison among buildings and tracking building performance over time.


Iowa's Executive Order 41 requires the state to reduce energy consumption in all conditioned facilities (i.e., buildings that are actively heated or cooled by a heating, ventilation, or air-conditioning system) by an average of 15 percent by 2010 (based on 2000 levels). It directs state agencies to obtain at least 10 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2010 and establishes requirements governing state fleets.

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