Saving Tax Dollars Through Smart Energy Use in State Buildings

 

In April 2014, Governor Steve Bullock directed state agencies to begin monitoring energy use in state buildings and to begin publicly disclosing these energy numbers online. This directive by the Governor is part of a larger commitment to smart energy use and consumption, the promotion of energy efficiency and conservation in Montana, as well as a more transparent state government.

The Department of Environmental Quality's (DEQ’s) State Building Energy Conservation Program will "benchmark" energy consumption of state buildings according to the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star Portfolio Manager. Benchmarking is an independent assessment of how buildings are performing relative to similar buildings with similar uses, adjusted for climate zones.

The following benchmark reports include information on a building's energy consumption and energy use intensity. The listings will be regularly updated on this webpage and will eventually encompass state buildings and facilities of 5,000 square-feet or larger.  Click on the links below to read the Energy Star Reports for each building: 

DEQ Metcalf Building Old Board of Health Building  DNRC Water Resources Building
Walt Sullivan Building Diane Building Teachers Retirement Building
 
DNRC Aviation Support Building DPHHS Headquarters Superintendent of Public Instruction
FWP Headquarters Office of Public Instruction Scott Hart Building
 

 

More on how DEQ will use this information to improve energy efficiency in state buildings 

DEQ's State Building Energy Conservation Program improves state facilities at no additional cost to state government. It does this by using an agency’s utility budget to fund energy improvements over time. First, a project is identified that can reduce energy costs in a facility. A technical energy study is then completed and future energy savings calculated. Savings are typically from reduced electricity and natural gas use, but may include water, propane or other utility costs.

The process of benchmarking assists program managers in identifying buildings and facilities that underperform from an energy-use standpoint. This selection process allows for the best and often-times the earliest return against the investment.

Projects are designed so that energy savings cover all financing. The DEQ funds construction and improvements for projects that provide energy savings over a baseline energy consumption level. The energy savings over the term of the project is used to pay for the project investment. This forms a revolving fund where savings are collected over time, which are then used to fund further energy projects.

The State Building Energy Conservation Program dates to the 1989 Legislature and addresses operating costs in state facilities by identifying and funding cost-effective energy efficiency improvements.  The statutory authority is under Title 90, Chapter 4, part 6, MCA.