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The Energy-Efficient Product Procurement Programme (EEPP) requires the federal government of the United States of America (USA) to purchase energy-efficient appliances. With the purchasing power of the public sector, the programme pushes the market for energy-efficient appliances in the USA. Moreover, leadership by example is performed on a large scale. Spill-over effects were realised by influencing subnational governmental and non-governmental actors. Furthermore, other countries adopted similar programmes.
With the help of the EEPP programme and other FEMP activities on energy efficiency in building, federal agencies reduced the energy use in federal buildings significantly. They even exceeded the stated goal to achieve a 12% reduction from 2003 to 2009.
Various acts and executive orders introduced by the Congress of the United States and the President of the USA require federal governmental agencies to procure only energy-efficient appliances. This shall contribute to the overall target for the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) of reducing the energy consumption in federal buildings by 30% in 2015 compared to 2003 (The United States Congress NA, Section 8253). The Energy Efficient Product Procurement Programme (EEPP) is one of several policies with the aim of realising this target.Within the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), the EEPP provides guidance for public purchasers. Requirements were introduced for 14 product categories (e.g. office equipment, lighting, refrigerators). If federal agencies wish to procure products from these categories, it is mandatory to buy energy-efficient products instead of less energy-efficient ones. Procurement managers can be sure that appliances of the respective categories meet the necessary standards if
The Energy Star, probably the most prominent of the three schemes, is attached to more than 60 product categories (explore our policy guide tan find our detailed description). Predominantly it focuses on the consumer products rather than commercial ones. Thus, the FEMP needed to expand the EEPP programme to some more product categories in order to achieve better energy efficiency results. Consequently, the FEMP identified and regulated additional product categories that promised a large saving potential in the governmental sector, called “FEMP Designated Product Categories” (DOE & FEMP 2011).Apart from setting energy efficiency requirements for products, the FEMP also disseminates information and tools to federal agencies and to their procurement managers, e.g. by giving training courses on energy-efficient procurement. With the help of the EEPP programme and FEMP overall, federal agencies reduced the energy consumption in federal buildings significantly. Based on data submitted by 30 agencies, energy consumption decreased from 2003 to 2007 by 7.7% to 353.5 Btu used for 2.8 million m2 (DOE 2010, p.5). They even slightly exceeded the stated goal to achieve a 12% reduction from 2003 to 2009 (DOE & FEMP NAa, 1p.4). Due to the reduced energy use in federal buildings, the American government saves money and, at the same time, reduces the environmental impact (Harris; Johnson 2000). Furthermore, the EEPP proactively promotes market transformation and performs leadership by example. The role model function does not only work internally in the US, meaning that subnational governmental and non-governmental actors follow this example. As the US government is "the largest volume buyer of energy-consuming products in the world", the United States and the EEPP can be regarded as a model for other countries (DOE & FEMP 2009, p.8). The large volume of government purchases also pushes the USA’s market for energy-efficient appliances in general, so that all other buyers of the products benefit from a larger and cheaper supply of energy-efficient products. The policy, thereby, helps transform the market and achieves very large spill-over effects.
Other examples of this type of policy can be found around the world. Public sector programmes were introduced for example in Austria, China, Denmark, Japan and Korea (Source: WEC-,IEA-, CLASP policy database). Most of these programmes were voluntary and not binding by law or they were part of an overall energy strategy. The US FEMP programme is mandatory and part of an intelligent package that consists of the Energy Star label and different information campaigns.
Another good practice policy is the Danish Energy Saving Trust. It issued purchasing guidelines for public and private sector organisations. The Trust has also developed online tools to help purchasers make energy-efficient decisions: process guide, potential savings calculator, status analysis, purchaser questionnaire and total price calculator. The guidelines have been updated every year since 2006 (IEA database).
In 2003, the US-government occupied 2.7% of non-residential floorspace (Harris & Shearer 2006, p.6) or roundabout 51,000 non-residential buildings (DOE NA). Moreover, the Department of Defence also operates 422,000 housing structures for the US military (Cleantechnica 2010).
Overall, energy intensity has been declining since 1985. In 1999, the energy intensity was 380 kWh/m2 on average for non-residential federal buildings (Harris & Shearer 2006, p.6).
All in all, it is estimated that federal buildings used 114.3 TWh of energy in 2009, for which federal agencies spent US$7 billion. And US$5 billion was added due to product purchases. Due to EEPP, 4.4 TWh and US$270 million can potentially be saved (DOE & FEMP NA a).
The EEPP programme aims at promoting BAT or, occasionally, energy performance levels even better than BAT in the public sector. The programme also aims to use the market influence of the public sector to stimulate the production of more sustainable goods and to increase the energy efficiency of appliances.
FEMP provides guidance to achieve this goal. This guidance includes energy efficiency requirements, purchasing tips, cost data, user information, and calculators that help federal agencies offset energy consumption costs through energy-efficient product procurement (DOE & FEMP 2011 b, p.1).
The policy was implemented on national level.
The programme distinguishes between food service equipment (e.g. commercial refrigerators, ovens), office equipment (e.g. computers, monitors), appliances (e.g. clothes washers, dishwashers) and electronics (e.g. battery chargers, cordless phones), which are all part of this description.
The programme also covers the product categories of space heating and cooling, water heaters, building envelope, lighting and water sense plumbing. These categories are therefore also part of this description, although they concern components and units of technologies integrated in buildings. bigEE normally covers these technologies in our buildings section. For policies and measures to increase the energy efficiency in buildings, please check our sections on policy in new or existing buildings.
Federal agencies have no other option than to purchase energy-efficient and/or low standby power appliances (if these belong to one of the 14 product categories). It is necessary for public purchasers or energy managers not to focus on purchasing costs, but rather on the life-cycle cost of an appliance.
The FEMP provides guidance to procurement managers. Not only can they contact the FEMP, they can also attend (web-based) seminars. On FEMP’s website more information is available ( ).
The EEPP programme works perfectly with the voluntary label Energy Star (explore the policy guide and find our detailed description). The programme directed all federal agencies to purchase only energy efficient appliances. Although federal sales amounted to only 2-3% of the market, this policy caused an immediate jump in manufacturers joining the Energy Star programme, with most types of office equipment quickly reaching Energy Star penetration rates of 90% and more (Harris 2005).
The EPAct of 2005 simplifies a procurement officer’s search for adequate products. Two large supply agencies, the General Service Administration and the Defense Logistics Agency, both have to visibly display the Energy Star or a FEMP designated products sign “in any inventory or listing” (EPAct 2005, Sec. 553).
Another additional policy in the programme is the provision of information through educational elements (e.g. web seminars), user information and calculators that help federal agencies.
The federal government integrated an already existing successful label (Energy Star) into its contemporary product procurement policy and added two new schemes to it (FEMP Designated Product Categories, Low Standby Power Products).
Moreover, the FEMP provides relevant information and tools on the web, which makes the policy easy and immediately possible to comply with.
Last but not least, the FEMP established an interagency working group, which facilitated the exchange between DOE’s FEMP on the one side and federal agencies on the other.
The EEPP programme could be expanded mandatorily to subnational government agencies. This would firstly, increase the demand for energy efficient products, yielding additional energy savings, and then secondly, lower the prices. The products would become affordable to a larger public, and moreover, all levels of government would execute leadership by example.
To date there are no concrete targets. This could be optimised to monitor the process and to measure the effectiveness of the programme.
The package could also be optimised.
The USA could introduce mandatory classification energy labels for product categories with a large spread of specific energy consumption in addition to Energy Star.
There are some structural preconditions necessary to implement the policy. The government is responsible for formulating comprehensive energy-efficiency public procurement laws. Agencies are responsible for the design and implementation of the policy. Furthermore a funding scheme must be established. Other preconditions are the availability of a mandatory or voluntary energy labelling scheme.
Agencies and other actors responsible for implementation
The responsible agency is the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), which is part of the United States Department of Energy (DOE).
Funding for the whole FEMP reached a low in 2007. Only around US$17 million were made available (Harris & Shearer 2006, p.5). One year later, funding increased to more than US$19 million and the Technical Guidance and Assistance which the EEPP is part of was funded with US$8 million (DOE & FEMP 2010, p.14 et seq.).
Other preconditions are the availability of an energy label, in this case the Energy Star label. The FEMP makes use of the label and integrates it into the energy-efficient product procurement scheme.
Another pre-condition of the programme is an interagency working group that co-ordinated and facilitated the exchange between the FEMP and federal agencies.
The next figure illustrates the procedure as to how FEMP sets efficiency requirements.
Besides this procedure to define the products and their energy efficiency requirements, the EEPP programme helps public purchasers with information campaigns. The FEMP collects information about procurement requirements and provides data and training systems to federal agencies.
Co-operation of countries
Harris and Shearer (2006, p.23) state that “[m]any foreign delegations visiting the US Department of Energy request briefings on the USDOE/FEMP program, including […] visits from officials representing China, India, South Africa, Mexico, Singapore, and Denmark. Of the nearly 500,000 visitors to the USDOE/FEMP website in 2005, more than 20% were from countries outside the US. Among these, about half of the top 20 countries visiting the website were OECD members, the rest were developing or transition economies.”
Especially, regarding the “[e]nergy-efficient government procurement [i.e. the EEPP] policies based explicitly on the USDOE/FEMP program have been adopted government-wide in China and at the municipal level (with federal policies under consideration) in Mexico” (ibid.).
The EEPP policy itself has no quantified target, but the government has set overall goals to improve the energy efficiency of appliances and federal buildings.
The USA has an overall energy efficiency target for its federal buildings. The American government wants to improve energy efficiency by “3% each year, leading to 30% by the end of fiscal year (FY) 2015 compared to an FY 2003 baseline“ (The United States Congress NA, Section 8253). FEMP and EEPP as a part of FEMP are to support agencies in achieving this target, but the EEPP programme itself has no quantified target.
Actors responsible for design
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) – Federal Energy Management Program is responsible for the design of the policy.
In 1992, the U.S. Congress passed the Energy Policy Act (EPAct). The EEPP programme was designed in direct response to the EPAct. Section161 – Procurement and Identification of Energy Efficient Products contains the requirement for agencies to purchase energy consuming products that are life cycle cost effective. The EPAct directed the Department of Energy to co-operate with the Administrator of General Services, the Secretary of Defense, and the Director of the Defense Logistics Agency to implement a programme in order to “identify and designate […] energy efficient products that offer significant potential savings, using, to the extent practicable, the life cycle cost methods” (EPAct 1992, Sec. 161).
In 1999, U.S. President William Clinton specified energy efficient product purchasing with E.O. 13123 ordering every federal agency to buy Energy Star labelled products, which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for, or “[f]or product groups where Energy Star labels are not yet available, agencies shall select products that are in the upper 25 percent of energy efficiency as designated by FEMP” (E.O. 13123, Part 4).
Actors responsible for implementation
The President of the United States through Executive Orders.
The United States Congress through laws and regulations.
Department of Energy (DOE) – Federal Energy Management Program
All federal agencies are to follow the purchasing rules.
A monitoring system is in place. First, a “scorecard” has to be filled out annually. Among other things, it has to include aspects about the “reduction of energy intensity” and the “reduction in fleet petroleum.” An example of such a scorecard can be seen here: . In 2011, the scorecards were published for the first time. The performance of 24 agencies can be seen here: . Moreover, federal agencies have to publish Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans to discover “sustainable solutions to power and secure America’s future” (DOE 2010 a, cover page). DOE’s SSPP can be found here:
Secondly, agencies must report on their energy efficiency development in the “FEMP Annual Report to Congress” (Harris & Shearer 2006, p.54).
In 2000, Jeffrey Harris conducted an ex-ante evaluation for the target year of 2010. However, there is no comprehensive ex-post evaluation of the EEPP available.
Before 2010, there were evaluation efforts for the whole FEMP, which consists of several components. Harris and Shearer (2006, p.52 et seq.) state that “[d]etermination of the net impacts of each program element (and to some extent, the net impact of federal policies and programs in the aggregate) remain elusive. […] The truth is, there may be more emphasis on data collection than on thorough analysis of those data.”
There is only a 2010 FEMP Annual Report to Congress available which includes the reduction of energy consumption for several federal agencies.
Economic benefits and costs were not evaluated.
Source of the FEMP annual report: United States Department of Energy (2010): Annual Report to Congress on Federal Government Energy Management and Conservation Programs Fiscal Year 2007
In addition to the energy efficiency guidelines there is an additional product category that requires agencies to buy water-efficient products.
The EEPP is mandatory. However, non-compliance is not punishable (Harris & Shearer 2006, p.54).
Another barrier is with the existing exceptions where an energy-efficient product does not meet the functional requirements of the purchaser.
In order to facilitate compliance without delay, FEMP has provided information and tools (seminars, online-cost-calculators etc.) on energy-efficient procurement to federal agencies.
In 2007, the US-President announced in Executive Order 13423 that federal agencies must reduce their energy intensity by 3% annually, "leading to 30% by the end of fiscal year (FY) 2015 compared to an FY 2003 baseline“ (DOE & FEMP 2009 a). However, this is not only to be achieved by the EEPP but also by FEMP overall, including other initiatives such as "High-Performance Building Design" (DOE & FEMP 2011 d).
Basically, the reduction targets for federal agencies are as follows:
FY Percentage Reduction/gross square foot
2006 – 2
2007 – 4
2008 – 9
2009 – 12
2010 – 15
2011 – 18
2012 – 21
2013 – 24
2014 – 27
2015 – 30
(The United States Congress NA, Section 8253).
The next figure illustrates the progress toward facility energy efficiency goals.
“Potential Annual Savings from EEPP [can amount to] 15 Trillion BTUs [i.e. 5.3 TWh] and $270 million” (DOE & FEMP NA, p.13). This would equal around 4 % of all energy consumed in buildings of the federal government of the USA.
According to the Annual Report to Congress on Federal Government Energy Management and Conservation Programs “Federal Government decreased energy use per gross square foot by 11.1 % in FY 2007 relative to FY 2003 for buildings subject to the goal. This surpassed the NECPA energy reduction requirement of a 4 % reduction” (DOE 2010, p.11) (see next figure).
A study by Harris (2005) calculated that although federal sales amounted to only 2-3% of the market, this policy caused an immediate jump in manufacturers joining the Energy Star programme, with most types of office equipment quickly reaching Energy Star penetration rates of 90% and more.
“Potential Annual Savings from EEPP [can amount to] […] $270 million” (DOE & FEMP NA, p.13).
Other data suggests “assuming there is 100% market penetration of the FEMP-designated products purchased by 2010 by the federal government, there is a potential for $1 billion dollars in energy savings” (Jeff Harris, quoted in: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 2008).
As the basis for the purchasing requirements under the EEPP is an analysis of life-cycle costs and rules are set to ensure net savings in life-cycle costs, it can be expected that the policy overall is cost-effective.