Public Procurement Spearheads Efficiency





In many countries governments are the largest single energy consumer. Legislators and governments can take advantage of this unique position in the energy market to promote the development and marketing of more energy efficient products. The US government has risen to the challenge by creating the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP). FEMP provides government purchasing officers and building managers with a set of technical energy efficiency specifications to guide public purchasing. The FEMP specifications can save US taxpayers as much as $1.2 billion per year.


The idea:


Legislators from around the world can learn from how the US Federal Government has developed efficiency guidelines for government procurement. As the largest single energy consumer in the USA, the federal government finds itself in a unique position to spearhead energy efficiency efforts. In response to this opportunity the US government established the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP).


FEMP works towards advancing energy efficiency and water conservation, promoting the use of renewable energy, and improving utility management decisions at Federal sites. To reach this end FEMP provides government purchasing officers and building managers with a package of technical energy efficiency specifications to guide public purchasing requirements and recommendations. FEMP also provides information on technical options and financing assistance, training courses, awareness campaigns, and tools for tendering and product selection.


The FEMP program is based on the Energy Policy Act of 1992 and receives considerable funding from the government. FEMP?s most well-known instruments are the Executive Orders from the President of the United States, which require federal agencies to buy either 'Energy Star' labeled products, or products in the upper 25% range of energy efficiency as designated by FEMP. It also requires federal agencies to purchase products that use no more than 1 Watt in their standby power consuming mode. Based on these Executive Orders, FEMP has issued recommendations for about 40 categories of energy-using products.


These types of guidelines can potentially lead to huge savings. Government agencies in the US spend about US $16 billion/year on facility energy bills and US $60 billion/year on energy-using products.


Efficient products, as recommended by FEMP, can save 30 to 50% in energy. If all levels of local government in the US would follow the FEMP guidelines it would mean that by 2010 the federal government would save $220 million per year, while state and local governments would save $800 million per year, and the country as a whole could save 10 million tones of CO2 per year.

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