WASHINGTON – Today the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) unanimously approved legislation by Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and Susan Collins (R-ME) designed to ensure that federal employees who operate and maintain federal facilities have the training and resources needed to safeguard the nation’s significant investment in energy efficient buildings. The bill will now go to the full Senate for consideration.

“I want to thank my colleagues on the Environment and Public Works committee for joining me in supporting the Federal Buildings Personnel Training Act of 2010,” said Sen. Carper. “This legislation will ensure that the General Services Administration has all of the tools necessary to guarantee that federal buildings are properly maintained and operated at their highest performance levels. You wouldn’t give a race car to an inexperienced driver and expect them to win the Indy 500. In the same way, we can’t expect our federal buildings to run at peak efficiency if we don’t provide our personnel with the training required to make that happen. I will continue to work with my colleagues to get this measure passed quickly by the Senate.”

“The committee vote is an essential step toward getting better control of our government’s energy usage and building management,” said Senator Collins. “The federal government is the largest single owner of facilities and the world’s largest institutional consumer of energy – in 2008 that accounted for 1.5 percent of our nation’s total consumption with a price tag of $24.5 billion. Targeted training required by this bill would improve federal energy management, building operations and maintenance, safety and design functions,” she said. “Clearly, we need the best trained, most qualified workforce operating this vast portfolio of federal assets, which totals more than 500,000 buildings, structures and associated infrastructure. Training will help guarantee that taxpayer dollars are spent as efficiently and effectively as possible in operating these facilities.”

The Federal Government is the single largest energy user in the nation. In fiscal year 2008, the total energy consumption of Federal Government buildings and operations was roughly 1.5 percent of all energy consumption in the U.S and the energy bill for the federal government that year was $24.5 billion or about 0.8 percent of total federal expenditures. Of that $24.5 billion, over $7 billion was spent on energy to operate federal buildings. The Federal Buildings Personnel Training Act of 2010 will require the General Services Administration (GSA), commonly referred to as the government’s “landlord,” to identify competencies that federal buildings personnel should possess and require that they demonstrate them. GSA will work with private industry and institutions of higher learning to create comprehensive continuing education courses to ensure that federal employees have the training to maintain federal buildings in a manner consistent with industry best practices.

Supporting the legislation is a diverse group of organizations including the Partnership for Public Service, the U.S. Green Building Council, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), and the International Facility Management Association.

Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO) and Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL) have introduced similar legislation in the House of Representatives.