recommended reading

GSA and Defense Move Energy-Saving Innovations Off the Drawing Board


This is the sixth in a series of sustainability case studies developed by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

As two of the largest property owners and managers in the country, the Defense Department and the General Services Administrative have a compelling interest in reducing energy use in buildings. The Pentagon’s annual tab to power the roughly 300,000 buildings in its portfolio runs nearly $4 billion.

But what if some of the best new energy-saving technologies never get off the drawing board? By using federal facilities to test real-world performance, Defense and GSA are helping to bridge the "technology valley of death" that prevents many innovations from moving to commercialization. In return, they expect to cut costs as well as improve reliability at their facilities.

Defense’s Environmental Security Technology Certification Program’s installation energy test bed initiative has supported more than 70 projects since it began in 2009. GSA’s Green Proving Ground, which started a year later, has initiated testing of more than 20 energy-saving technologies.

Following a similar format, both programs:

  • Use open solicitations to identify potential technologies to be tested.
  • Select emerging technologies that have the greatest potential for delivering energy savings and enhanced energy security and reliability.
  • Include careful documentation of baseline data and detailed monitoring and verification of costs and effectiveness.
  • Provide credible, detailed information about product performance that is critical to the technology’s future success in the marketplace.

The programs differ mainly in the stage of development of the technologies they test. The Pentagon’s initiative focuses on technologies that are often at a pre-commercial stage. GSA’s program focuses on underutilized existing technologies and new technologies that are just entering commercial markets.

The programs cover a wide range of technologies, including smart microgrids, energy storage, and advanced metering, sensors and controls.

For example, at Fort Detrick, Md., the Army will test a hybrid electricity generation system that integrates DC-connected bulk energy storage with solar photovoltaic power sources. The objective is to enhance installation energy security, reduce dependence on grid-supplied power, and reduce energy costs.

GSA’s Green Proving Ground is testing a plug load technology at six federal sites that tracks the amount of electricity consumed by workspace electronics, including computers, task lights and printers. The system shows building occupants how their behavior contributes to overall building energy use. Plug loads are estimated to account for 15 to 35 percent of total building energy consumption.

By helping to move new energy-saving technologies into the marketplace, these programs could have a substantial payoff for the government and society at large.

Read the full case study here

(Image via Mopic/

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.