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Energy Policy Act of 1992

The Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct 1992) amended the National Energy Conservation Policy Act (NECPA) and established several energy management goals.

This content is intended as a reference only. You should refer to the full text of EPAct 1992 for more details or other sections relevant to your work.

Please note, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007), Executive Order (E.O.) 13423, and EPAct 2005 have been issued subsequent to the passage of EPAct 1992. These authorities update and/or supersede many of its requirements.


EPAct 1992 defined the term "trained energy manager" as:

"...a person who has demonstrated proficiency, or who has completed a course of study in the areas of fundamentals of building energy systems, building energy codes and applicable professional standards, energy accounting and analysis, life-cycle cost methodology, fuel supply and pricing, and instrumentation for energy surveys and audits

Water Conservation

Section 152 of EPAct 1992 amended NECPA by adding water conservation and the use of renewable energy to the energy efficiency requirements outlined in Section 542.

EPAct 1992 also amended Section 543 of NECPA by:

  • Striking "goals" and inserting "requirements"

  • Striking the period at the end and inserting: "and so that the energy consumption per gross square foot of its Federal buildings in use during the fiscal year 2000 is at least 20 percent less than the energy consumption per gross square foot of its Federal buildings in use during fiscal year 1985"

  • Redesignating subsection (b) as subsection (d) and inserting after subsection (a): "(b) ENERGY MANAGEMENT REQUIREMENT FOR FEDERAL AGENCIES- (1) Not later than January 1, 2005, each agency shall, to the maximum extent practicable, install in Federal buildings owned by the United States all energy and water conservation measures with payback periods of less than 10 years, as determined by using the methods and procedures developed pursuant to section 544.

Federal Energy Efficiency Fund

Section 152 of EPAct 1992 amends Section 546 of NECPA, establishing the Federal Energy Efficiency Fund to provide agencies grants to assist them in meeting the mandated energy efficiency and water conservation requirements. The limited spending authority available in fiscal years 1994 and 1995 was applied to proposals that were most competitive, considering the following five factors:

  1. The cost-effectiveness of the project (saving-to-investment ratio)
  2. The net dollar cost savings to the Federal Government
  3. The amount of energy savings to the Federal Government
  4. The amount of funding committed by the agency requesting financial assistance
  5. The amount of funding leveraged from non-Federal sources

No spending authority has been provided beyond fiscal year 1995. A total of 114 proposals were received during fiscal years 1994 and 1995, and fund grants were provided for 37 projects. Of these, 35 projects provided energy savings of 5.8 trillion Btu and two projects resulted in water conservation of 738 million cubic feet, resulting in an estimated energy and water cost savings of $54 million (before payback of the initial investment) over the useful lives of the projects. The total Federal Energy Efficiency Fund investment to realize these savings was $7.9 million, which leveraged $3.6 million in Federal agency funding and $900,000 million in non-Federal funding. The projects encompassed 14 states and the District of Columbia with one project located in the Caribbean.

Utility Incentive Programs

Section 152 of EPAct 1992 amends Sections 542 to 550 of NECPA. Section 546, part (c), provides specific information as it relates to utility incentive programs. The five key elements of this section were (subsequent policies have since updated some of these items):

  1. Agencies are authorized and encouraged to participate in programs to increase energy efficiency and for water conservation or the management of electricity demand conducted by gas, water, or electric utilities and generally available to customers of such utilities.

  2. Each agency may accept any financial incentive, goods, or services generally available from any such utility, to increase energy efficiency or to conserve water or manage electricity demand.

  3. Each agency is encouraged to enter into negotiations with electric, water, and gas utilities to design cost-effective demand management and conservation incentive programs to address the unique needs of facilities utilized by such agency.

  4. If an agency satisfies the criteria which generally apply to other customers of a utility incentive program, such agency may not be denied collection of rebates or other incentives.

  5. An amount equal to fifty percent of the energy and water cost savings realized by an agency (other than the Department of Defense) with respect to funds appropriated for any fiscal year beginning after fiscal year 1992 (including financial benefits resulting from energy savings performance contracts under title VIII and utility energy efficiency rebates) shall, subject to appropriation, remain available for expenditure by such agency for additional energy efficiency measures which may include related employee incentive programs, particularly at those facilities at which energy savings were achieved.

Financial Incentive Program

EPAct 1992 instructed the Secretary, in consultation with the Interagency Energy Management Task Force (IATF), to establish a financial bonus program to reward outstanding Federal agency facility energy managers. EPAct authorized appropriations to carry out these financial incentives at no more than $250,000 (cumulative) for fiscal years 1993, 1994, and 1995. These incentives were distributed in conjunction with the Department of Energy (DOE) awards program.

Demonstration of New Technology

EPAct 1992 instructed the Secretary, in cooperation with the General Services Administration (GSA), to create a new technology demonstration program to install energy conservation measures in Federal facilities.

General Services Administration Federal Buildings Fund

Section 210(f) of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 was amended by naming the fund as the "Federal Buildings Fund." EPAct 1992 also granted the administrator authority to accept and allocate funds surrounding energy management activities and requirements as outlined in Section 153.

Energy Savings Performance Contracts

EPAct 1992 gives authority to Federal agencies to enter into energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) for the purpose of energy savings. In accordance with the statute:

  • ESPCs must require an annual energy audit and specify the terms and conditions of any Government payments and performance guarantees

  • Annual payments by an agency to both utilities and energy savings performance contractors may not exceed the amount that the agency would have paid for utilities without an energy savings performance contract

  • Federal agencies may enter contracts provided that the ESPC contractor guarantees energy cost savings that exceed the debt incurred

  • Federal agencies may enter into a multiyear contract for a period not to exceed 25 years

EPAct 1992 also required the DOE to issue rules for ESPCs. These rules contained a provision for designated ESPC energy services companies (ESCOs) to be determined by the DOE.

Sunset and reporting requirements for ESPCs were also created under EPAct 1992.

Energy Audit Teams

Section 158 of EPAct 1992 required the creation of energy audit teams available to all Federal agencies. It also included the establishment of a monitoring program for the implementation of energy efficiency improvements at Federal facilities.

Energy-Efficient Product Procurement

Section 161 of EPAct 1992 required the GSA and Department of Defense (DOD) to include energy-efficient products across procurement and supply functions. It also required the GSA and DOD to implement programs that designate and identify these energy-efficient products.

United States Postal Service and Congressional Building Regulations

EPAct 1992 set special energy management regulations for the United States Postal Service and U.S. Congressional buildings.

Fleet Management

EPAct 1992 set requirements for the acquisition of alternative-fuel vehicles (AFVs) by Federal agencies. In fiscal year 2000 and beyond, 75% of light-duty vehicle (LDV) acquisitions in covered fleets must be AFVs. Vehicles that weigh less than 8,500 lb gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) are considered LDVs. EPAct requirements apply to fleets of 20 or more LDVs that are centrally fueled or "capable of being centrally fueled" and are primarily operated in a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)/Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA). Vehicles heavier than 8,500 lb GVWR or not located or operated primarily in a covered MSA or CMSA are exempt from the requirements. Law enforcement, emergency, and military tactical vehicles are also exempt. For fiscal year 1999 and beyond, 75% of a Federal fleet's covered vehicle acquisitions must be AFVs.