Reducing Energy Use in State Buildings

California’s Goals

By 2018, state buildings will reduce energy purchased by 20%.

State agencies manage more than 1,700 facilities that consume $220 million in electricity and natural gas each year for agency operations. Efficient operation of state facilities is critical to achieving the state’s environmental and climate goals and saving taxpayer dollars. California has aggressive and ambitious targets, and state agencies and departments are leading by example.

In Executive Order B-18-12, Governor Brown directed all state agencies, departments, and other state entities to reduce their energy purchases from the grid by 20 percent by 2018 (compared to a 2003 baseline). Under the Governor's directive, state departments and other entities that manage facilities are required to measure their energy usage and are responsible for their progress toward that target. This website will track their progress.

List of State Agencies and Departments
Onsite Renewable Energy
Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED)
Department Focus: Department of General Services
Department Focus: Department of Technology
Department Focus: Department of Education

Progress to Date

In 2003, state agencies collectively consumed nearly 12 million equivalent million British thermal units (MMBtu)1 of electricity and natural gas combined, equal to the energy used by 170,000 California homes. The most recent data available show a reduction of nearly nine percent since 2003. These savings have resulted from retrofits of lighting and mechanical systems for improved efficiency, onsite renewable energy, and conservation measures.


Onsite Renewable Energy

By 2014, state facilities will produce 46 megawatts of electricity - enough to power 9500 homes.

State agencies are adding renewable energy generation on their sites and buildings, usually in the form of solar photovoltaics (PVs), to reduce electricity purchases from the grid and will have 46 megawatts installed by early 2014, enough electricity to power more than 9500 California homes. In 2012, four percent of state facilities’ total electricity use was generated onsite by renewable energy systems. This capacity is expected to double over the next three years.

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Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

LEED supports sustainable building design and operation.

The U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program rates buildings for qualities like efficiency, sustainability and air quality to promote healthier and safer buildings for their occupants and communities. New or renovated buildings and leases more than 10,000 square feet and existing buildings and leases more than 50,000 square feet must be LEED certified under the Governor’s order. Using LEED, California’s building managers are able to track progress toward sustainability targets and earn nationally recognized certification. The state has certified 114 buildings to date, more than 16 million square feet, using LEED. This includes 11 percent of the state-owned portfolio and 17 percent of the state’s leased portfolio.

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Department Focus: Department of General Services

DGS reduced its energy use by 14.6%, while its building area has grown 9.4%.

As California’s business manager, the Department of General Services (DGS) provides real estate services for state agencies and manages many of the state’s largest office buildings. DGS has reduced its total building energy use by 14.6 percent since 2003, while its total building area has grown 9.4 percent during the same time frame, and the energy efficiency of DGS buildings has improved 22 percent since 2003: DGS is well on its way to meeting the 20 percent reduction goal. In addition, a majority of DGS buildings have been retro-commissioned to improve operations and maintenance and enhance energy efficiency. DGS also leads the state in LEED certification efforts with more than half of its buildings LEED certified. Since 2004 almost all new or renovated buildings managed by DGS larger than 10,000 square feet - about the size of four homes - have been LEED certified. DGS now leases 48 LEED certified properties after implementing certification requirements into state building leases.

Project Focus: Sacramento Central Utility Plant

Completed in 2011, the state central utility plant renovation project replaced the state’s original plant, which was built in 1968. The new plant serves 23 state office buildings, totaling more than 5.5 million square feet, and provides steam and chilled water for heating and cooling for approximately 20,000 state employees.

The new plant’s state-of-the-art equipment saves a significant amount of electricity and gas, saving more than $600,000 per year in utility costs, and is one of the most energy efficient plants of its kind in the United States. In addition, a 4.2 million gallon thermal energy storage tank allows the state to chill its water at night when it is cooler and electricity rates are much lower, saving the state additional costs and reducing peak energy loads on the regional grid. Mechanically chilling water in a closed-loop system stopped any discharge into the Sacramento River, saving nearly 6 million gallons of local groundwater per day, equal to the water used by 12,600 homes.

This project achieved LEED Platinum certification, the state’s first new construction project to achieve LEED’s highest level of certification.

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Department Focus: Department of Technology

OTech has consolidated and reduced state data center energy usage by more than 10 percent.

The Department of Technology - Office of Technology Services (OTech) - provides scalable, reliable, and secure data center services to many California state, county, federal, and local governments. As the state’s Information Technology (IT) leader, OTech led efforts to reduce total state department IT energy equipment use by at least 20 percent, as required by Assembly Bill 2408 (Smyth and Huber, Chapter 404, Statutes of 2010). To meet required energy reductions, many state departments consolidated their IT equipment into OTech’s ENERGY STAR® rated data center, including equipment from two of OTech’s own data centers, decommissioned in 2010. Although energy usage at OTech’s data center increased as a result of these consolidation efforts, total energy reduction from data center operations was reduced by 10.5 percent versus the 2003 baseline consumption total.

Project Focus: Data Center Energy Efficiency Measures

OTech implemented significant energy efficiency strategies at its mission-critical, ENERGY STAR rated data center.  These strategies included site-wide lighting and mechanical upgrades on computer room equipment.  Implementation of these strategies reduced energy usage at the data center by 1.7 million kilowatt-hours annually, equal to the energy used by 91 homes. Energy improvement initiatives currently underway include server virtualization through cloud computing, efficient cooling of computer spaces, replacement of back-up power systems with energy efficient models, and solar panel installation in the parking lot.

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Department Focus: Department of Education

The Department of Education has cut energy usage by 5%, while building area increased by 8%.

The California Department of Education (CDE) has been reducing energy use over a wide platform of activities. The department has accomplished repair, renovation, modernization, and building replacement projects to improve building efficiency. The CDE has reduced its total building energy use by 5 percent since 2003, while its total building area has grown 8.2 percent. The overall efficiency of the buildings has increased by 11.8 percent during the same period. Roofing projects incorporate cool roofs, additional insulation and improved ventilation; projects including high efficiency mechanical units and direct digital controls (DDC) for building systems keep energy usage at optimum levels. Lighting projects include compact florescent lamps and LED fixtures to reduce electrical loads.

Project Focus: California School for the Deaf Riverside, Dormitory Replacement and Chiller Plant

The central chiller plant was completed in 2010 with a LEED Gold certification. The chiller plant includes a 1 million gallon thermal energy storage to reduce peak energy usage and three variable speed chillers. The dormitory replacement project was completed in 2012 and is on track to receive LEED Silver certification. The building walls, roofs, and window systems are high-performance and well insulated. Daylight is used throughout to reduce electrical lighting requirements. The HVAC systems minimize the number of pieces of equipment requiring maintenance without sacrificing occupant comfort. Use of low-flow toilets and bathroom fixtures reduces use of potable water by 833,908 gallons annually - equal to the water used by five homes - and reduces the impact on regional wastewater treatment plants. Additional energy-efficient measures include increased use of water-efficient landscaping, reduction of stormwater runoff, increased use of low-pollutant emitting materials, and recycled and renewable materials. The energy savings measures implemented in this project are projected to reduce energy use by 23.7 percent annually.

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California State Agencies and Departments:

  • ARB - Air Resources Board
  • CAAM - California African American Museum
  • CADA - Capitol Area Development Authority
  • CAL EXPO - Cal Exposition and State Fair
  • CAL FIRE - Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
  • CCC - California Conservation Corps
  • CDCR - Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation
  • CDE - California Department of Education
  • CDFA - Department of Food and Agriculture
  • CDFW - Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • CDPH - Department of Public Health
  • CDVA - Department of Veterans Affairs
  • CHP - California Highway Patrol
  • CLC - California Lottery Commission
  • CSC - California Science Center
  • DAA - District Agricultural Associations
  • DCA - Department of Consumer Affairs
  • DDS - Department of Developmental Services
  • DGS - Department of General Services
  • DMV - Department of Motor Vehicles
  • DOC - Department of Conservation
  • DOJ - Department of Justice
  • DOR - Department of Rehabilitation
  • DOT - Department of Transportation
  • DPR - Department of Parks and Recreation
  • DSH - Department of State Hospitals
  • DWR - Department of Water Resources
  • EDD - Employment Development Department
  • HCD - Department of Housing and Community Development
  • MIL - Military Department - Office of the Adjutant General
  • OTech - Office of Technology Services
  • SLC - State Lands Commission
  • SMMC - Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy

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1. The number this represents is 12,000,000,000,000 British Thermal Units.