A federal office park in St. Louis that used $42 million in Recovery Act money for building upgrades failed to reach energy-reduction goals required for the funding, according to a watchdog analysis.
A regional inspector general for the General Services Administration concluded that electricity usage at the Goodfellow Federal Center has increased by more than 46 percent over five years in terms of kilowatt hours. GSA requires a 20-percent reduction in energy usage compared to 2003 for modernization projects that received Recovery Act funding.
The IG found a modest 2-percent to 6-percent reduction in energy use measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs) per gross square foot, but the decrease was still not enough to meet GSA’s standard.
“Reductions in energy use from Recovery Act projects at the Goodfellow campus are not apparent as electricity use has been increasing,” inspector general Adam Gooch said in a memo to the regional GSA manager who oversees the complex.
The St. Louis facility received more Recovery Act funding than any of the sites audited by the regional inspector general, but it also used “substantially” more energy, the memo said.
The study looked at data from roughly two years since the Goodfellow modernization projects were completed in 2011.
Gooch noted that the campus increased its use of data centers, which draw considerable energy and are necessary for technology-related activities. He said auditors could not determine how the expansion affected electricity use because “there is little to no historical building-level data to assess energy use by the data centers prior to 2012.”
GSA management said in response to the findings that it has undertaken various energy-related projects after the review, including installing new energy-management software and multiple “small repair and alteration projects,” according to the memo.
Gooch determined that the Goodfellow complex would be a “worthy candidate for increased energy-reduction efforts” because of the findings. The campus includes 24 buildings and 65 acres of property.
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