Public sector energy efficiency is an important area which would benefit from ongoing international attention. In nearly every instance where public money is spent for government operations or for the provision of public utilities, there is good potential to improve energy efficiency. The overall potential for energy savings and greenhouse gas emissions reductions are even larger where the public sector is an important buyer of goods and services.
While the technical measures used to reduce energy consumption are the same regardless of the user, governments often have different capacity and financing issues. Importantly, they face a mandate to use and oversee public funding responsibly, and yet data on performance and accountability - hallmarks of good governance - can be elusive where many governments consume energy or oversee public utilities. Despite a growing body of public sector programmes, governments in many countries continue to view energy efficiency activities as piecemeal environmental initiatives or as a luxury rather than a tool for responsible management.
This paper represents a review devoted specifically to public sector energy efficiency at all levels of government for PEEREA member countries. It examines what is known about the potential for energy savings in the public sector, where the potential lies, and how governments can capture it. Energy efficiency issues and typical measures are described for public buildings, transportation, utilities ranging from public lighting to heat providers, and other facilities. The Policies and Instruments section covers cross-cutting energy efficiency programmes, procurement, facilities construction and retrofitting, operations and maintenance, utility management, and capacity development programmes. The review also provides lessons learned in each area of activity and identifies particular areas that could be further pursued by the PEEREA Working Group of the Energy Charter.