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ConstructionPro Week, Volume: Construction Advisor Today - Issue: 146 - 02/17/2012

Obama Requests Funding Increases for Four Key Federal Efforts to Reduce Energy Use in Buildings

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)

 

FY’11 Current

FY’12 Enacted

FY’13 Requested

Commercial Buildings Integration

$37.308

$31.913

$61.079

Emerging Technologies

75.694

84.694

108.344

Equipment and Buildings Standards

35.000

58.302

98.250

Residential Buildings Integration

37.308

31.282

35.872

Technology Validation and Market Introduction

22.000

8.500

0

Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer

0

4.513

6.455

Total BTP Funding

207.310

219.204

310.000

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)

 

FY’11 Current

FY’12 Enacted

FY’13 Requested

Project Financing

$10.699

$9.640

$9.581

Technical Guidance and Assistance

7.942

9.640

8.419

Planning, Reporting, and Evaluation

3.701

4.832

4.000

Federal Fleet

2.170

1.793

2.000

DOE Specific Investments

5.890

3.986

3.000

Federal Energy Efficiency Fund

0.000

0.000

5.000

Total FEMP Funding

30.402

29.891

32.000

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)

 

FY’11 Current

FY’12 Enacted

FY’13 Requested

Weatherization Assistance Grants

$171.000

$65.000

$135.700

Weatherization Training and Technical Assistance

3.300

3.000

3.300

State Energy Program

50.000

50.000

49.000

Tribal Energy Activities

7.000

10.000

7.000

Total Weatherization and Intergovernmental

231.300

128.000

195.000

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)

 

FY’11 Current

FY’12 Enacted

FY’13 Requested

General Plant Projects

$4.693

$11.419

$10.294

General Purpose Equipment

4.012

3.185

4.399

Maintenance and Repair

3.000

3.300

3.300

Safeguards and Security

0.000

8.407

8.407

Energy Systems Integration Facility

39.295

0.000

0.000

Total Facilities and Infrastructure

51.000

26.311

26.400

DOE’s budget justification documents for these and other programs can be accessed at http://www.cfo.doe.gov/budget/13budget/index13.html.

 

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