By Steve Rizer
President Obama (D) earlier this week requested substantial funding increases for four key federal programs whose mission is to minimize energy use in buildings. Specifically, his fiscal 2013 budget request proposes increased appropriations for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building Technologies Program (BTP), Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), the Weatherization Intergovernmental Activities program, and the Facilities and Infrastructure program.
Obama is seeking more than a $90-million increase in funding over the FY’12 enacted level for BTP, which supports innovation, emerging technologies, systems integration, and the reduction of market barriers via advanced technologies to improve energy efficiency in the nation’s buildings. Obama’s strategy for BTP has been divided into the following three interwoven pathways, each of which can reduce, significantly, building energy use, according to DOE:
- Improve building components (solid state lighting, windows, heating ventilation and cooling, building envelope, sensors, and controls), both in terms of performance and the costs to manufacture/install equipment, through groundbreaking research and development; and develop whole building energy simulation programs, such as Energy Plus, which engineers, architects, researchers can use to model energy and water use in buildings.
- Increase market pull from private industry through cooperation with stakeholders, improvement of building design and audit tools, and the creation of reliable efficiency benchmarks and databases to facilitate energy-efficiency financing and define efficiency’s value-add to consumers (Better Buildings Residential and Commercial, HUB, Energy Star).
- Raise the standards for new energy-consuming equipment and new buildings with continually updated equipment and model building codes based on cost-effective, higher-performing technology that has been successfully commercialized.
Obama’s proposal seeks the following funding levels for individual BTP programs:
Building Technologies Program (BTP) (dollars in millions)
Commercial Buildings Integration
Equipment and Buildings Standards
Residential Buildings Integration
Technology Validation and Market Introduction
Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer
Total BTP Funding
Obama also proposed an increase for FEMP, the mission of which is to provide services, tools, and expertise to federal agencies to help them achieve their federal energy-management goals. These efforts are delivered through project funding mechanisms, technical assistance, and communications and training. His proposal for funding individual FEMP programs appears as follows:
Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) (dollars in millions)
Technical Guidance and Assistance
Planning, Reporting, and Evaluation
DOE Specific Investments
Federal Energy Efficiency Fund
Total FEMP Funding
Obama requested a $67-million increase for weatherization and intergovernmental activities, the mission of which is to “significantly accelerate, in partnership with state and local organizations, the deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and practices by a wide range of government, community, and business stakeholders.”
WIP addresses both the supply and demand sides of energy security by facilitating investments in “clean energy” generation and energy efficiency. The program provides a combination of financial and technical assistance to state, local, U.S. territory, and tribal governments. Grantees use these resources for residential energy retrofits, renewable energy planning, emergency energy management, financing of clean energy projects, and sustainable energy policies development.
Funding for individual program activities would be broken down as follows:
Weatherization and Intergovernmental Activities (dollars in millions)
Weatherization Assistance Grants
Weatherization Training and Technical Assistance
State Energy Program
Tribal Energy Activities
Total Weatherization and Intergovernmental
Obama proposed a small increase for the federal Facilities and Infrastructure program, which funds National Renewable Energy Laboratory mission and operational projects and activities that he believes are “necessary to create, operate, and maintain the world-class laboratory capabilities required by [DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy] to achieve its mission goals. Individual activities would be funded as follows:
Facilities and Infrastructure (dollars in millions)
General Plant Projects
General Purpose Equipment
Maintenance and Repair
Safeguards and Security
Energy Systems Integration Facility
Total Facilities and Infrastructure
DOE’s budget justification documents for these and other programs can be accessed at http://www.cfo.doe.gov/budget/13budget/index13.html.