Energy efficiency: Good for your budget and the environment

Find out what your peers thought

Seventy-nine percent of federal managers who are responsible for agency purchasing decisions think energy efficiency is the most effective way to meet energy needs, reduce energy costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions, according to a recent survey by Zogby International.

However, one-third of the agency decision-makers said lack of funding is a major obstacle to achieving mandated energy efficiency goals, according to the Zogby poll sponsored by the Alliance to Save Energy and Schneider Electric.

Sound familiar? A report released earlier this week by CDW Government drew similar conclusions. Two-thirds of the public- and private-sector IT managers surveyed in that assessment said understanding best practices for energy-efficient IT is critical to their organizations’ success, according to CDW-G’s 2010 Energy Efficient IT Report.

Organizations are consolidating data centers and deploying technology in innovative ways to reduce energy consumption, but managers still struggle to find funds for energy-efficient IT programs, the CDW-G report states. The CDW-G report is based on a survey conducted in July of 756 IT professionals who are responsible for buying IT equipment, and 150 of the respondents were from the federal government.

The Zogby poll surveyed 201 government leaders in October. The survey asked participants to rate the importance of energy efficiency at their agencies, rate the agencies’ ability to comply with federal energy efficiency requirements, identify obstacles to compliance, and identify attitudes toward energy efficiency at the agency.

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The poll, released in conjunction with the GOVgreen Conference held Nov. 9-10 in Washington, D.C., also found that:

  • 66 percent see cost savings or environmental benefits as the major driver of their agencies’ energy efficiency efforts.
  • 64 percent think the economic environment and potential tightening of agencies' budgets might have an impact, presumably negative, on their ability to pursue energy efficiency projects.
  • 32 percent think the biggest obstacle to achieving federally mandated energy efficiency goals is a lack of funding.
  • 65 percent said agencies have a culture that encourages energy efficiency practices throughout the agency.
  • 49 percent report that the significance of energy efficiency in their operations has increased during the past two years.
  • 53 percent said their agency has metered and audited all or most facilities to understand energy consumption trends, benchmark building energy use, determine energy efficiency investment priorities, and measure and verify the impact of those investments. Those tasks are requirements of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which gives agencies until Oct. 1, 2012, to complete metering of electricity.

“Greater energy efficiency among federal agencies is today more important than ever, given the huge amount of energy consumed by federal facilities and the need for fiscal restraint at all levels of government,” said Floyd DesChamps, senior vice president of policy and research at the Alliance to Save Energy. The organization is a coalition of business, government, environmental and consumer leaders who promote the efficient and clean use of energy worldwide.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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