Local Government Lead by Example

November 6, 2018

Local governments can advance energy-efficient technologies and practices in the marketplace by promoting energy efficiency in their own everyday operations, a practice commonly known as “Leading by Example” (LBE). Taking actions to improve the energy efficiency of government-owned and -leased facilities and fleets can accrue multiple benefits for both the government and the people it serves. Energy can account for as much as 10% of a typical local government’s annual operating budget (EPA 2009a). As local governments attempt to act with heightened levels of austerity, implementing cost-effective energy efficiency processes and technologies is a proven solution to reduce unneeded spending. 

LBE program benefits include:

  • Demonstrating leadership
  • Reducing energy consumption and costs
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants
  • Fostering markets for energy-efficient products and encourage economic development in local and regional communities
  • Offering greater energy price certainty
  • Promoting sustainable alternatives to conventional practices
  • Providing health and productivity benefits
  • Increasing asset value in energy-efficient buildings
  • Reducing maintenance costs in energy-efficient buildings

Key Participants

When developing a LBE program, it is imperative to engage stakeholders in a variety of positions. These participants can play roles of varying importance, but their awareness and participation is critical to create buy-in for the program and sustain it for the long term.

  • Mayor or County Executive
  • City or County Council
  • Energy and Environment Staff
  • Local Planners
  • Facility Management Teams
  • Other Local Governments and Regional Entities
  • State Energy Offices
  • Utilities and Other Energy Efficiency Program Administrators
  • Energy Service Companies
  • Nonprofit Organizations


ACEEE Local Toolkit Resources

The following toolkits offer resources on measures governments should consider when deciding how to lead by example:

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