The U.S. Department of Energy announced $104 million of investments in net zero-focused energy conservation and clean energy projects at 31 Federal facilities, including initiatives to boost building electrification, add on-site solar, and install heat pumps.
The new investments form the first of three disbursements from a $250 million funding program launched last year by the Biden administration, aimed at helping federal agencies to implement and advance net zero building projects, through the Assisting Federal Facilities with Energy Conservation Technologies (AFFECT) program.
The launch of the program followed an executive order signed by President Biden in December 2021, outlining a series of goals and initiatives for the U.S. federal government to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Among the key goals outlined in the order were targets for the government to achieve a net zero building portfolio by 2045, with an interim goal of a 50% emissions reduction by 2032.
Buildings are a key source of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and also one of the hardest to replace, given their long-term nature. The U.S. federal government’s portfolio spans 300,000 buildings.
White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory said:
“President Biden has charged the Federal Government to lead by example by transforming its footprint of over 300,000 buildings to be more energy efficient and climate resilient, which means cleaner air across the country. This investment, part of the President’s Investing in America agenda, will help achieve the Administration’s ambitious Federal sustainability goals while creating thousands of good-paying jobs, saving taxpayers money, and building healthier communities.”
Projects selected for the first round of disbursements under the program include the installation of rooftop solar panels, a heat-recovery heat pump system, and solar thermal panels in order to reduce reliance on natural gas and fuel oil combustion systems at the Pentagon, the replacement of diesel-powered boilers with electric boilers at a DOE facility in Richland, Washington, and the implementation of energy conservation measures, installation of on-site solar, and electrification of energy-consuming systems at the Federal Executive Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia.
According to the DOE, in the first year of operation, the 31 projects are expected to result in more than $29 million in reduced energy and water costs, remove the equivalent amount of greenhouse gas emissions as taking over 23,000 cars off the road, and reduce energy usage by the amount used by nearly 30,000 homes’ annual electricity use.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said:
“The Federal Government is the nation’s largest consumer of energy, and conserving as much power as possible in our buildings and vehicle fleets benefits taxpayers and bolsters our national security. Thanks to the historic investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the projects we’re announcing today will help secure our energy independence while we fight climate change and create a healthier environment for all Americans.”