In order to realize the promise of any new technology, it must first be tested in the real world. That is why the Greater Southwest Region has entered into a partnership with two major Texas utility companies to test and evaluate new energy efficiency technologies as part of GSA’s Green Proving Ground program.
“One of GSA’s priorities is to lead with innovation,” said Acting Regional Administrator Sylvia Hernandez. “Testing new technologies in our federal inventory while partnering with industry leaders helps make this a reality. We are constantly looking for new ways to green the federal government and this is a great example of these efforts.”
This “first of its kind” partnership is an innovative example of government and private sector collaboration, and will provide a model for future partnerships between GSA and industry. Oncor Electric Delivery and CenterPoint Energy will fund the evaluation, installation, measurement, and verification of the technology, and then propose which technologies works best for GSA, while enabling the agency to participate in their energy rebate and incentive programs.
As the testing progresses, the utility companies will receive interim progress reports on the viability of the technology. The companies will use this data to demonstrate to their regulatory authority that they are appropriately targeting incentive and rebate funds to technology that yields energy efficiency results. The evaluation will take place over the course of a year.
The Greater Southwest Region is an active participant in GSA’s Green Proving Ground (GPG) program, and actively seeks to evaluate new and innovative technologies that will help GSA advance its energy efficiency and sustainability goals, resulting in better procurement decisions.
The GPG program aims to drive innovation in environmental performance in federal buildings and help lead market transformation through the deployment of new technologies.
Each year the GPG program invites industry, inventors, and others to submit technologies for evaluation. With technical support and assistance from the Department of Energy National Labs, GSA ranks the technologies on a number of factors, including innovation, technical risk, and application to broad portions of GSA’s federal building inventory. This fiscal year alone, about 100 technologies have been submitted to the program for consideration.
The program accepts technology from vendors on a “gift” basis for testing and evaluation. This saves GSA from having to purchase the technology.
GSA has used other forms of innovative financing to leverage federal dollars. For instance, the Greater Southwest Region conducted $68 million worth of building improvements in 75 of its buildings across five states by supplementing appropriated funds with about $15 million in private sector alternatively financed funding.
These types of collaborative approaches to financing GSA’s greening projects are examples of the agency’s efforts to deliver the best value to government and the American taxpayer.