In 2010, the Texas Facilities Commission (TFC) established a new Energy Management Program with the intention of improving energy efficiency across its the entire portfolio of state-owned facilities. This directive formalized many of the ongoing efforts of the facilities management team to conserve electric and water resources under one program.
The TFC Energy Management Program includes water conservation efforts. While the design of new buildings in the portfolio incorporates water saving technologies, older buildings are being retrofitted with water conserving devices. This investment has reduced water usage and costs by almost 30% in the last four years.
Office lighting comprises one of the largest usages of energy. For the last four years, the TFC Energy Management Program has been converting standard office lighting to more efficient LED lighting. In 2018, the program completed the first phase of the lighting retrofit program and has achieved savings of $500,000 annually. In January 2022, the second phase of the program was completed with close to $200,000 annually in added savings. This initiative continues today, with the installation of occupancy lighting sensors, LED lighting fixtures and other energy saving technology that will improve the energy efficiency of the older buildings in the TFC portfolio while saving operational and utility costs.
The Texas Facilities Commission recycling program dates to 2002 when recycling receptacles were first introduced to all State-Owned facilities. The program has grown and continues to collect recyclable materials. This year alone, TFC has collected and recycled more than 2,100 tons of recyclable materials.
Another program that demonstrates the TFC commitment to sustainability is the State Surplus Program. Originally, a stand-alone agency, named the Texas Surplus Property Agency, the program was established in 1945 to receive surplus war property from the federal government for reuse in educational and public health institutions. In 1993, the agency was abolished, and its operations moved under TFC’s purview. The mission of the new State Surplus store remains the same. The mission of the new State Surplus store remains the same—to divert usable surplus assets and items from the landfill to individuals and organizations that can use the materials.
In 2022, the Texas Surplus Store processed over 87,000 state assets retired from State Agencies. These items were either sold to the public or transferred to state agencies for reuse. Sales for the year totaled approximately $8 million, of which almost $6.5 million was remitted back to the state agencies that retired the items. The public can buy items via online auctions or at the retail store.
The State Surplus Store is located at 6506 Bolm Road in Austin and is open to the public Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The store receives new property every day. In addition to state surplus vehicles, furniture, office equipment and supplies, and small electronics, the store also sells abandoned airport property such as pocketknives, multi-purpose tools, jewelry, sunglasses, watches, luggage, and toys.
TFC also manages the Federal Surplus Property Program. This program’s mission is to save eligible organizations money while acquiring necessary equipment. The program matches eligible organizations with items donated from federal programs. Some eligible organizations include local governments, educational organizations, emergency service providers, and SBA certified Veteran-owned small businesses. (See the full list of eligible organizations here.)
During 2022, the TFC Federal Surplus Program passed through property valued at $69 million dollars (original purchase price) to 295 eligible organizations in Texas. Program recipients paid only $16 million dollars; the fair market value established by the Federal Government.
The program’s success stories are inspiring. For example, the Town of Baytown purchased a 5-ton cargo truck for its volunteer fire department. The vehicle was valued at over $67,000, yet they only paid $6,500.
Through the full implementation of these programs, the Texas Facilities Commission is helping achieve State goals to save energy and protect our natural resources. These programs save taxpayer dollars and give new life to items that would otherwise end up in landfills. TFC is dedicated to the continued success of these programs and will continue to seek new ways to conserve and reuse as we fulfill our mission to build, support, and maintain State facilities.