Military Bases and Federal Buildings as an Energy Technology Test Bed

Friday, February 12, 2016: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Coolidge (Marriott Wardman Park)
Dorothy Robyn, Washington, DC

Advances in technology will allow for dramatic improvements in energy performance in the built environment—an area where progress has been relatively slow.  However, these new technologies face major impediments to commercialization and widespread adoption, a key one being the lack of data on how the technologies perform in real-world settings.  As the largest U.S. consumer of facility energy, the Federal Government has a direct interest in seeing the barriers to technology commercialization and adoption reduced.  And as the owner of 500,000 buildings, the Federal Government is uniquely positioned to help address the lack of data on the performance of advanced energy technologies for the built environment.  In 2009-2010, the Department of Defense and the General Services Administration independently created programs that use their facilities as a distributed testbed in which firms can demonstrate and validate their technologies in a real-world environment.  The programs also provide guidance and design information for deployment of successful technologies across federal sites, thus helping to kickstart the commercial market.  With 150 formal demonstrations completed or underway, the two programs are filling an important gap in the energy innovation process and showing exciting results.  This presentation will provide an overview of both programs, whose differing approaches reflect the mission and culture of the two agencies.  It will also describe some of the technology demonstrations and how they have informed and facilitated the commercialization process.  Finally, the presentation will look at what DoD and GSA are doing to deploy the technologies across federal facilities. 

Dorothy Robyn writes and consults on policy issues related to energy, transportation and infrastructure.  From 2012 to 2014, she was the Commissioner of the Public Buildings Service (PBS) in GSA.  PBS is the real estate arm of the Federal Government.  From 2009 to 2012, she was the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Installations & Environment, where she provided DoD-wide oversight of U.S. military bases around the world.  From 1993 to 2001, she served as Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy on the staff of the White House National Economic Council.  Dr. Robyn previously was an assistant professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a Principal with The Brattle Group.  She has an MPP and a Ph.D. in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley.