With more than 32,000 buildings nationwide, our vast facility network requires a lot of energy to support mail processing equipment, vehicle maintenance, information technology, appliances, and heating and cooling for employees and customers.
34% decrease — facility energy use since 2003
Targets: Reduce total facility energy consumption (BTU) and energy-use intensity (BTU/sf) 30% by FY 2015 from FY 2003 baseline.
Progress: Total facility energy consumption (BTU) decreased 34% or more than 11 trillion BTU from FY 2003 baseline to FY 2012.
Facility energy use intensity (BTU/SF) decreased by 32% since FY 2003.
This is nearly equal to reducing the amount of energy consumed by 100,000 U.S. households.
What is a BTU?
A BTU or British Thermal Unit is a standardized measure of energy based on the heating properties of the fuel. This includes heating fuels and electricity.
In 2012, we continued making new energy improvement investments while maintaining gains achieved in prior years. Our actions and results demonstrate our continued commitment toward energy reduction.
We consumed 22 trillion BTU in FY 2012 — about the same amount of energy used by 215,000 U.S. households in a year. Using trillions of BTU means large energy costs — $523 million in FY 2012. So energy has a significant impact on our finances and is a potential savings opportunity for us.
We have two energy targets: reduce total facility energy use and energy intensity (use per square foot) by 30 percent. As a self-funded federal agency, we must watch the bottom line, just as any other business does. Our investments in energy efficiency projects and data collection tools have saved money and reduced our environmental footprint.
In 2012, our total facility energy use decreased 34 percent, and our energy intensity decreased 32 percent compared to 2003.
National energy management plan
In 2012, we launched an initiative to update our national energy management strategy to match the evolving financial and strategic direction of the Postal Service.
Our approach is to evaluate new technology, incorporate energy efficiency into new equipment assessments and investigate equipment-specific energy use.
By integrating key technologies into facility energy opportunities, along with promoting employee energy awareness, we will continue to drive a conservation culture throughout the organization.
Measurement and reporting
In FY 2012, USPS worked to improve and expand our energy data collection and measurement tools, helping us reduce our energy use to meet our goals and comply with the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act.
Our Utility Management System (UMS) consists of more than 5,600 facilities. UMS collects energy information directly from participating utilities and provides accurate energy cost and consumption information on demand. It also feeds into our Enterprise Energy Management System (EEMS).
For EEMS, 2012 was a year of significant progress. The Postal Service uses this application to measure and verify energy performance, monitor and report savings and identify opportunities for improvement. USPS now has detailed historical cost and consumption data for approximately 10,000 facilities. Real-time monitoring data are available for several pilot sites.
Improving transparency in our data collection systems allows us to better understand energy consumption trends.
In the past year, we identified energy consumption estimation procedures that were inconsistent over time. We streamlined and standardized energy calculation methodologies and restated FY 2010 and FY 2011 energy performance data. The result is a more accurate representation of our performance.
Many utilities offer energy efficiency rebates because lower demands for energy help them avoid costly infrastructure expansions. In 2012, the Postal Service received $1.9 million in utility rebates for energy improvement efforts. These incentives benefit the utility, the environment and the Postal Service — resulting in reduced costs and improved buildings.
Denver Network Distribution Center (NDC) — energy audit
The power of an energy audit is in the savings that result. A facility energy audit identified potential annual savings of up to 26 billion BTU and utility savings of more than $292,000 at the 450,000 square-foot Denver NDC.
The project included installation of energy efficient lighting, thermostat resets, HVAC control system upgrades and removal of old automation equipment.
The results were better than predicted. The Denver NDC was able to reduce energy costs $425,000 and save 33 billion BTU. These savings are equivalent to the annual energy use of over 300 households!
Taking action on energy
USPS hosts Energy Action Month every October to provide information to employees on how they can reduce energy use. For 2012, Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman and Chief Sustainability Officer Tom Day appeared in a video on energy savings. The video was distributed through the Postal Service's television network. For the first time in the history of Energy Action Month, USPS issued a postage cancellation to encourage Americans to save energy in the month of October.