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The DC Department of General Services Releases Energy Management Plan for District Government Buildings to Dramatically Cut Energy Use in More Than 25.7 Million Square Feet of Real Estate

Monday, June 27, 2022

Plan to Serve as a Blueprint to Combat Climate Change in the District 
(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, the D.C. Department of General Services (DGS) released the DGS Energy Management Plan (EMP), a data-driven roadmap that outlines in detail how the agency responsible for management of District government buildings will aggressively cut energy use of more than 25.7 million square feet of real estate. The EMP will serve as a powerful, robust blueprint for cities, states, and the private sector on how to bring their building portfolios into compliance with Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) that are being increasingly adopted across the United States. The Energy Management Plan follows Mayor Bowser’s 2019 signing of the Clean Energy D.C. Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018, which established the D.C. BEPS that require building owners to meet energy reduction targets by actively improving the energy performance of their buildings over time. BEPS are implemented by the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE).

“Our Sustainability and Energy Division at DGS has put forth a stellar, step-by-step actionable blueprint that compliments the District’s 2019 law to bring existing buildings into energy compliance,” said Keith A. Anderson, Director of DGS. “This plan will create green, local jobs, improve the District’s air quality, and make District government buildings more resilient and comfortable for residents. We have proven that our facilities can play a vital role for the entire city in the path toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2032 and 100% by 2050. We look forward to the continued implementation of this Plan.”

In Washington, DC, existing buildings are responsible for 74% of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. Long-term, sustained reductions of existing buildings’ energy use is the most effective way for the city to combat climate change and District government is leading by example by targeting those buildings 10,000 square feet and greater owned by the city. After a decade of benchmarking nearly 300 District government buildings’ energy use, DGS has set a baseline and performance target by building type and will use the EMP to actively reduce energy consumption of each building that falls short of its target. These targets become stricter over time, driving continuous, long-term improvement in the District’s real estate portfolio.

The EMP was developed by DGS and its partner DLR Group over two years with more than 250 meetings, including dozens of meetings with client agencies to receive their feedback. The EMP outlines a compliance roadmap for each District government-owned building 10,000 square feet and greater, excluding sites leased to tenants that maintain full control. It is intended to be a living, breathing document. While the overarching greenhouse gases (GHG) and energy reduction targets will remain the same, individual building targets may be adjusted to reflect realities on the ground.

The District’s Energy Management Plan analyzed dozens of building datasets and categorizes existing buildings into proposed retrofit scope types including whole-building retrofit, whole-system retrofit, component retrofit, retro commissioning, and ongoing commissioning, to comply with Building Energy Performance Standards. The goal of the EMP is to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 45,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e), compared to a 2019 baseline, while also transforming 12.5% of the District’s real estate portfolio to net zero energy facilities. The plan helps to ensure that at least 9% of District-owned properties will undergo an energy retrofit before 2024.

District-owned properties include schools, offices, fire stations, shelters, community centers, recreation centers, and other building types that are occupied by various ‘client agencies’ of DGS, such as DC Public Schools, the Metropolitan Police Department, DC Fire and EMS Department, Department of Human Services, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and others.

View the Energy Management Plan and learn more about the District government’s path forward to cut GHG emissions in its facilities here.