The Energy Conservation Program for Schools and Hospitals Can Be More Effective

EMD-81-47: Published: Mar 23, 1981. Publicly Released: Mar 23, 1981.

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Schools and hospitals are major consumers of energy, and a substantial potential exists for them to reduce their energy consumption and costs through a variety of energy conservation actions. The Schools and Hospitals Program was established by the National Energy Conservation Policy Act as a matching grant program to assist schools and hospitals in reducing their energy consumption. Funding of almost $1 billion was authorized for the program, which is operated by the Department of Energy (DOE).

As currently structured, the Schools and Hospitals Program is not an effective use of Federal funds when compared to other DOE conservation programs. It is among the highest in cost but among the lowest in yielding energy savings. The focus of the Program should be directed toward providing more energy audits. However, the funding for phase I energy audits has been used, and the remaining funds are going into the less cost-effective phase II measures of the Program. The Program could be more effective if its assistance were more closely matched to the needs of the institutions it serves. The ability of DOE to evaluate the results of the Program is severely limited by the lack of program performance data. DOE management of the program has also been hampered by the lack of a firm staff and organization.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress did not provide funding for more energy audits. The program ahs been proposed for termination. Time has overtaken this recommendation.

    Matter: Congress should adjust the Program to provide funding for additional energy audits so that they are available to all institutions which want and could benefit from them.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Since the program has been proposed for termination, this recommendation is no longer valid.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should provide Congress the results of the DOE ongoing study of alternatives to the 50 percent cost sharing arrangement for phase II grants.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Staffing ceased to be an issue after the agency underwent two reductions-in-force. The program has been proposed for termination.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should promptly fill key positions in the Schools and Hospitals Program on a permanent basis.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: This program has been proposed for termination. While DOE did undertake some evaluation work, it was not of a continuing nature and, therefore, techinically not in compliance with the recommendation. Given the current status of the program, this is a moot issue.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should assess the Schools and Hospitals Program on a continuous basis.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOE agreed that there was substantial potential for energy audits. Now that the program has been proposed for termination, this issue is irrevelant.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should provide information on how many institutions could benefit from energy audits and how much funding will be required to provide them.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

 

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