Use Renewable Energy in Buildings for Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

After all cost-effective energy efficiency projects have been explored as part of a Federal agency's planning efforts for greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation in buildings, renewable energy may be considered as an option for meeting the agency's GHG reduction goals. Renewable energy can reduce emissions in all three GHG emission scopes by displacing conventional fossil fuel use.

The focus of this guidance is prioritizing on-site renewable energy projects that will best support GHG reduction goals. It is intended to provide a high-level screening approach for on-site renewable energy projects to support agency- or program-level portfolio planning. General guidelines for planning GHG emission reductions from on-site renewable energy include the following steps:

The guidance goes beyond assessing energy production potential for different resources to considering emissions avoided by a potential renewable project based on the energy source it is displacing. Once priority sites for on-site renewable energy development have been identified, a deeper site-level analysis would be carried out to make a final assessment of the viability of a project.

Analyzing a portfolio of buildings for the best application of renewable technologies is different from analyzing the same portfolio for energy efficiency strategies that best support GHG reduction goals. Renewable energy projects depend on resource availability and financial incentives, unlike energy efficiency solutions, which can often be applied more broadly across an agency's building stock.

For more information about renewable energy resources and technologies, Federal requirements, and project planning, see FEMP's information on Renewable Energy.

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