Obama pitches curveball to federal building managers


Federal building managers already are buzzing over President-elect Barack Obama’s plan, announced in his weekend radio address, to make public buildings more energy efficient.

Obama said he would launch a “massive effort” to upgrade federal buildings with new heating systems and more efficient light bulbs to help jumpstart the economy. Additional details will be released in coming weeks, with the hope that Congress will pass the plan immediately after reconvening in January.

Agencies already are under intense pressure to meet existing energy reduction mandates, so the announcement that more requirements are forthcoming was a “curveball,” said Mark Ewing, who manages energy consumption at the 8,000 federal buildings owned or leased by the General Services Administration.

Still, Ewing said he’s confident that building managers will rise to the challenge to meet the new requirements. Speaking this morning at a energy efficiency summit in Washington, Ewing said many managers have already contacted him, looking for guidance on how to meet the as-yet-unspecified goals.

“I’ve had a flurry of e-mails already about what’s my plan,” Ewing said. “As soon as I’m done here, I’m going to go back to my office and think about what my plan is.”


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