New Presidential Memo on Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPC)

This past month, December 2nd, 2011, the President issued follow-up guidance and support for Executive Order 13514 in the form of a memo for Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPC). The concept is industry-proven and has been around for a while – just check out this 2002 EPA presentation on the benefits of ESPC.An ESPC is based upon the authorization activated in 1992 and 2005 by the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) that allows Agencies to use private sector financing mechanisms for energy conservation projects. This authority was supported and enhanced with the issuance later EPAct versions, as well as the issuance of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007. The recent Presidential Memorandum directs Agencies in three main areas that include the following: 1. Implement and Prioritize Energy Conservation Measures (ECM). Agencies' capital investment plans should integrate ECMs that have a payback period of less than 10 years. Potential projects are to be prioritized return on investment. ESPC will be a major vehicle for funding these projects, however direct appropriations should also be considered. There is a mandated goal of $2 billion in ESPCs by January 2014.

2. Complete Required Energy and Water Evaluations. Section 432 of EISA2007 establishes a framework for tracking, reporting, and benchmarking energy initiatives. Agencies use Department of Energy's Compliance Tracking System (CTS) to reporting on completed ESPC projects and perform regular assessments of facilities to ensure compliance and capture performance metrics.

3. Maintain Transparency and Accountability. This section of the memo directs Agencies to automate data collection and reporting, thus reducing the level of effort and increasing efficiencies. Agencies are encouraged to “connect meters and advanced metering devices to enterprise energy management systems to streamline and optimize measurement, management, and reporting of facility energy use”. These mandates are designed to help the US Government realize cost savings while collecting data for business intelligence efforts for continuous improvement and better portfolio management. As time passes, these directives will drive down the amount the USG energy bills, benefit the taxpayer, and stimulate an important part of our innovation economy.

REPRINT: Adoption of International Green Construction Code gaining traction

September 5, 2011—Facilities teams working in buildings throughout Florida, North Carolina, Oregon, Scottsdale, Arizona and other parts of the United States may notice their buildings are even more sustainable and energy efficient as a result of their communities focusing on safe and sustainable construction as determined by The International Code Council's International Green Construction Code (IgCC), a regulatory tool created to increase energy efficiency and complement voluntary green building rating systems. Florida has adopted the IgCC as an option for the retrofitting and new construction of all state-owned facilities. Previously, Florida law did not recognize any kind of green construction code, only voluntary rating systems. The legislation specifically allows the IgCC to be used by the Department of Management Services and encourages state agencies to adopt the IgCC as a model green building code that will apply to buildings financed by the state, including county, municipal, school districts, water management districts, state universities, community colleges and state court buildings.

The North Carolina Building Code Council adopted the Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems section of the International Green Construction Code Public Version 1.0 with amendments, which is expected to enhance the North Carolina Plumbing Code Appendix on Rainwater. The state's plumbing code is based on the International Plumbing Code with North Carolina amendments and is already in use throughout the state.

The 2011 Oregon Commercial Reach Code features energy-related provisions of the IgCC Version 2.0 with amendments. The IgCC was flexible enough to adapt to Oregon's needs and integrate with the existing I-Codes that the state currently uses. The State of Oregon Building Codes Division developed the optional "reach code" that includes construction methods and technology to increase energy efficiency. Builders across the state can now use this optional code to develop high-performance new construction projects as well as retrofits.

In Scottsdale, Arizona, the IgCC will replace and update the city's voluntary commercial green-building program in an effort to encourage developers of commercial and multifamily buildings to pursue green development projects.

- Source: Facility Management News

Space as a Corporate Resource: Decoupling Individual Ownership Perceptions.

Why is telecommuting so hard? What is it about the office environment that creates the expectations for ownership of space? While the company may pay for a cubicle or a corner office, the individual employee is typically the "owner" of that space and is reluctant to part with or even share that resource. As a consultant, I often talk with clients about workplace strategies that typically involve the evolution of space from a 1:1 desk to employee ratio to a use model that is more open, collaborative and flexible. Cultural issues create complexity in implementation when individuals reject the idea of losing their space... treating their office or cube like a scared object for which they will protest for and defend against the "space invaders" (pardon the pun). Why? Simply put, these persons are unable or unwilling to evolve their perception of space and the role that it plays in their ability to perform work. About five years ago, I read a book that to this day influences my thinking on the separation of source from use. Blown to Bits is an observation on the economic impact of information being separated from the traditional physical distribution model (i.e. a book, stone tablets, billboards). It struck me that treating information as a corporate resource and separating it from the delivery source, is not unlike the separation of a particular space from an individual and treating space as a corporate resource that is managed for the best use at a given point in time for a particular goal achievement.

What does this mean? It means that by disaggregating space and creating a flexible set of use types we can help employees perform their jobs and increase productivity. This allows employees to use each space for its intended purpose and capacity, thus increasing effective utilization. Without assigned space, the employee evolves perception from one of space ownership to integration of space and performance.