Buyers for the federal sector are required by law to purchase energy-efficient products. The Department of Energy has developed a program to help buyers do this and to reach the goal of reducing energy use 3 percent each year. The DOE's Energy-Efficient Products Program objectives are to:
- reduce greenhouse gases
- meet budget cuts
- increase the nation’s energy security
- take into account “life cycle cost” – the cost to purchase an item plus the cost of use over the item’s normal lifetime
- harness the federal government’s buying power to influence the market to produce more energy-efficient products.
The Energy-Efficient Products Program is administered within DOE by the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP). The federal government is a big consumer of energy and products that use energy:
- the federal government spends up to 10 billion per year on energy-using products
- federal buildings alone use 390 trillion BTUs annually, an expenditure of about $7 billion. The National Energy Conservation Policy Act set a goal of reducing buildings’ energy use 30 percent 2030.
FEMP provides buying guides to help federal employees who have procurement responsibility choose the most energy-efficient products possible. This acquisition guidance is updated bi-annually.
Pivotal to buyers’ decisions is FEMP’s designation of approved energy-efficient products. FEMP analyzes products (everything from light bulbs to commercial-size central air conditioners) in three basic steps:
- measures products’ energy efficiency
- finds the top 25 percent of the market
- identifies at least three manufacturers