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GSA breaks ground on new green building project

Jun. 10, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
The IRS Financial Service Center in New Carrrollton, Maryland, is getting a green upgrade.
The IRS Financial Service Center in New Carrrollton, Maryland, is getting a green upgrade. (Library of Congress)

The General Services Administration broke ground on a $43 million project to ‘green’ the IRS’s New Carrollton Financial Services Center in Maryland and make more of its facilities environmentally friendly, according to an announcement.

Ameresco is financing the project at no cost to taxpayers as part of an energy savings performance contract (ESPC), under which a contractor is provides energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades in exchange for payment from the resulting savings.

The IRS facility and the adjoining Silver Spring Metro Center 1 building will receive LED lighting fixtures, sensors controlling lighting levels, an energy efficient chilled water plant, solar panel canopies and a solar thermal heating system, according to GSA.

The project will result in $3 million in savings in its first year, as well as a 60 percent reduction in total energy use, 56 percent water reduction and the generation of 10 percent of facility energy use from renewable energy, according to the agency.

The new ESPC comes on the heels of an announcement by President Obama for agencies to enter into $2 billion in ESPCs by the end of fiscal 2016 — on top of a previous $2 billion requirement that ran from 2011 to 2013.

The agency is also forging ahead on an $195 million ESPC for the FDA’s White Oak campus in Maryland by building a more effient central utility plant as well as back up energy and water storage tanks in case the local supplies are disrupted. The total power from the plant will be enough to power more than 23,000 homes.

GSA administrator Dan Tangherlini said the agency was committed to doing its part to green the federal government by ensuring that its buildings are energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

“Energy Savings Performance Contracts give us the opportunity to work with industry partners to strengthen these efforts,” Tangherlini said.

A 2009 executive order also set specific targets for reducing direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. The White House pledged that the government overall will reduce direct emissions — such as those generated by federal cars and buildings — by 28 percent below 2008 levels. The order also included green guidelines for federal facilities.

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