The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced plans to use $975 million in Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) funding to upgrade federal buildings across the country with emerging and sustainable technologies.
These plans are in line with President Joe Biden’s Executive Order 14057, which launched the Federal Sustainability Plan and charged the federal government to “lead by example” and leverage its “scale and procurement power” to help decarbonize the country. One of the goals includes achieving net-zero emissions from federal buildings by 2045.
The IRA funds will impact about 40 million square feet—about 20%—of GSA’s federal buildings portfolio and expand the agency’s sustainable building portfolio to 134 million square feet. Through these projects, 28 buildings will achieve net zero emissions and 100 more buildings will become all-electric (in addition to the approximately 200 that are already all-electric).
GSA plans to:
- leverage private-sector funds through performance contracts such as Energy Savings Performance Contracts and Utility Energy Savings Contracts;
- make direct investments in building retrofits to maximize greenhouse gas reductions, as well as energy and water savings;
- and expand building technology innovation programs such as the Green Proving Ground and Applied Innovation Learning Lab programs, as well as electric vehicle infrastructure.
By leveraging IRA funds, GSA expects to more than double the $975 million investment in sustainable technologies, deploying a total of $1.9 billion in private- and public-sector funding to support sustainable technologies.
As part of its announcement, GSA revealed plans to electrify the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center—one of the largest in GSA’s portfolio—through up to $13.5 million that will use clean energy technologies to lower energy costs, create local jobs, and reduce harmful carbon pollution.
“The Inflation Reduction Act is enabling the building of America’s clean energy economy,” said John Podesta, Senior Advisor to the President for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation. “Today’s historic announcement shows how the federal government can catalyze climate action by setting a leading example, with the soon-to-be electrified Ronald Reagan Building.”
Plans include electrification of the entire complex through the installation of heat pumps as the primary heating source, eliminating onsite combustion emissions, and the use of steam onsite for space and water heating.
The expanded project will incorporate emerging technologies, including installing 57,000 LED light bulbs, upgrading over 500 high-efficiency transformers, and installing a reverse osmosis groundwater recovery system, which is estimated to save 35 million gallons of water annually.
Overall, the project is estimated to reduce energy use by 40%, reduce emissions by nearly 16,000 tons, and avoid an estimated $6.3 million in energy costs annually.
GSA is one of the country’s largest landlords, and it said these projects will help the agency drive market transformation, with approximately 60% of its footprint meeting the White House’s Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings. The IRA investments also put GSA three-quarters of the way toward meeting the Federal Building Performance Standard released last year, which sets a goal to cut energy use while electrifying equipment and appliances in 30% of the building space owned by the federal government by 2030.
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