The United States federal government has achieved significant energy savings in many of its portfolio properties in recent years. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) launched the National Deep Energy Retrofit (NDER) Program in 2010 as a challenge to the private sector to spur innovation in the use of energy savings performance contracts within the federally owned portfolio to maximize energy reductions and on-site renewable energy generation with the long-term goal of becoming net zero.

Five different energy service companies, or ESCOs, competed for, designed and implemented projects in 20 buildings spanning 15 million square feet. In the aggregate, the projects deployed $170 million in private capital to generate more than $10 million in guaranteed annual savings, which will repay the investment over project terms for as long as 22 years. In addition to the energy efficiency and associated cost savings, these projects provide modernized infrastructure, renewable energy generation on-site and increased asset value for GSA and the federal workforce occupying its owned portfolio.

As an example, Ameresco responded to this challenge with a comprehensive energy efficiency and renewable energy project for the New Carrollton Federal Building and Silver Spring Metro Center 1, two properties located just outside Washington, D.C., in Maryland. The project is cutting energy consumption at the buildings by 60 percent and water use by 50 percent, as a result of two dozen energy and water conservation measures. One megawatt of renewable energy across 1.2 million square feet of this occupied office space now provides 10 percent of the newly reduced demand. As part of an installation of solar and geothermal systems at the New Carrollton Federal Building, Ameresco built new bio-retention facilities that enhance the storm water systems of the property.