Can public data on federal energy usage make government more sustainable?

Wayne L. Morse U.S. Courthouse in Euegene, Oregon (Photo: U.S. General Services Administration)

Wayne L. Morse U.S. Courthouse in Euegene, Oregon (Photo: U.S. General Services Administration)

The General Services Administration recently asked for ideas from the public on how it can help make the federal government more energy efficient.

Note to GSA: I tried to register and submit mine via the ideas platform, but the site is giving me a “List index out of bounds: 0″ error since early October. I notified GSA via social media and email and it still appears to be broken.

My recommendation would be to have all federal facilities publish their Green Button data to energy.data.gov so we can begin to publicly monitor this and observe what buildings are underperforming and how they can be upgraded or implement more energy-efficient practices.

I’ve looked for and asked around for federal government energy consumption data, but there appears to be none available.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission publishes this type of data in an annual benchmark report and has seen significant decreases in consumption over a two-year period.

“Getting an energy bill is one thing, but knowing how you compare to similar buildings is much more illuminating,” said SFPUC General Manager Harlan Kelly, Jr., in Sustainable Industries.

I don’t know whether this is cause or correlation, but I can only imagine this type of information would incentivize public building managers to review, compare and address areas where there is significant differentials.

Does anyone know of other governments who regularly publish this data and what type of impact it’s had on energy consumption? If so, please feel free to email me at [email protected]

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