The Obameter

Reduce energy consumption in federal buildings

"Will make the federal government a leader in the green building market, achieving a 40 percent increase in efficiency in all new federal buildings within five years and ensuring that all new federal buildings are zero-emissions by 2025. They will invest in cost-effective retrofits to achieve a 25 percent increase in efficiency of existing federal buildings within 5 years. The Obama-Biden plan will put forward the resources necessary to achieve a 15 percent reduction in federal energy consumption by 2015."


Updates

Building promise gets an energy boost a little too late

President Barack Obama signed a stimulus bill into law in 2009 that included at least $4.5 billion to turn federal buildings into "high-performance green buildings." The 2010 budget outline that followed stated they would allocate more funds to help federal buildings meet a "25 percent energy efficiency improvement goal by 2013."

When we last checked this promise, we rated it In the Works because of these provisions. It was unclear how he would actually regulate this, though, and if he would get the necessary funding to do so.  

In March 2015, Obama released an executive order  cutting the federal government's greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent of their 2008 levels. The executive order also includes a specific provision for reducing energy use by 2.5 percent annually over the next 10 years in all federal buildings.

This doesn't quite reach the 25 percent improvement Obama initially promised. Instead, if this executive order stays on track, they won't reach it until 2025.  Based on the White House's emissions scorecard, 65 percent of federal energy providers disclosed their emissions and were within the regulation range. In 2016, however, 52 percent of these providers did not submit energy targets.

In hindsight, we know that Obama did not meet his goal of improving energy efficiency by 25 percent in 2013. Instead, the administration does seem to be on track by 2025 to do so if their suppliers continue to report and meet their targets. We therefore rate this a Compromise.

Sources:

Office of Budget and Management, Budget Documents for Fiscal Year 2010 , Feb. 26, 2009

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 , accessed Feb. 26, 2009

White House Office of the Press Secretary, FACT SHEET: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Federal Government and Across the Supply Chain, March 19, 2015

Council on Environmental Equality, Federal Supplier Greenhouse Gas Management Scorecard, accessed November 3, 2016

White House Office of the Press Secretary, Executive Order -- Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade, March 19, 2015

Green building initiative gets funding

Making buildings more energy efficient doesn't come cheap.

The economic stimulus bill Obama signed into law on Feb. 17, 2009, includes at least $4.5 billion to turn federal buildings into "high-performance green buildings." That money could go to big-ticket items like new heating and cooling systems, or lesser items like improved insulation and more energy-efficient lighting.

Obama's budget outline for 2010 mentions additional funding for green buildings, though it doesn't specify an amount. More money will be allocated to help federal buildings meet a "25 percent energy efficiency improvement goal by 2013." More details on the budget are expected to be released in the coming months.

The money in the stimulus and the budget outline indicate to us that this promise is on Obama's radar. It will take years to see if the efficiency goals will be met, but for now there is enough action to rate it In the Works.

Sources:

Office of Budget and Management, Budget Documents for Fiscal Year 2010 , Feb. 26, 2009

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 , accessed Feb. 26, 2009