Wednesday, August 10th, 2011 - 13:24
Tuesday, August 9, 2011 - 21:12
As domestic carbon emissions continue to increase and cheap energy prices are memories of the past, the Federal government has embarked on a plan to lead the public and private sector in reducing energy consumption and associated carbon emissions.
President Obama signed Executive Order 13514 calling on Federal agencies to develop, implement and annually update a plan to meet energy reduction targets. This Executive Order resulted in Federal agencies developing sustainability plans for the first time.
Drafting these plans was a first step towards achieving the goals of the Executive Order. However, Federal agencies will first need to conduct a detailed analysis of their energy consumption in order to implement strategies to reduce it. This regulatory policy provides agencies with the opportunity to develop and implement a forward-thinking and well-planned strategy to achieve energy and environmental goals.
Energy Reduction Plans, One Size Does Not Fit All
The Executive Order was an important step towards encouraging agencies to develop a plan to become more sustainable. However, within the scope of Federal operations, a one-sized-fits-all approach to reducing energy consumption will not efficiently achieve the desired results. A successful implemented sustainability plan requires an agency specific, detailed roadmap complete with goals, objectives and tactics.
Using the Department of Interior and Department of Treasury as an Example
For example, the Department of Interior and the Department of Treasury each employ a similar number of employees, 70,000 and 100,000, respectively. However, the Department of Interior owns and operates 47,000 buildings across the country, while the Department of Treasury has just 11. Many of the Interior’s buildings are small offices located in rural Federal land; some of Treasury’s buildings are large, money printing industrial centers.
With thoughtful planning, the Department of Interior can implement technologies and procedures to ensure a steady supply of energy in remote areas. The Department of Interior has a dispersed geographic footprint, but relatively low intensity of energy consumption. In addition, wildfires can threaten the patchy electric grid serving rural Interior offices, and employees may travel great distances commuting between offices. A plan to implement locally-generated renewable energy and use of alternately-fueled vehicles could not only assist in achieving the goals of the Executive Order, but also result in more efficient operations.
Conversely, the Department of Treasury owns and operates a mix of office buildings and industrial minting facilities. An effective sustainability plan would target the unique energy consumption patterns of these two types of operations. Energy management dashboards could empower office building operators to better control lighting and temperature to reduce energy and improve overall comfort. Meanwhile, a facility manager of an industrial building may find that the biggest source of potential energy reductions comes from more efficient operation of machinery. An analysis would uncover this type of energy saving potential.
The purpose of this Executive Order and other energy efficiency polices extend beyond meeting energy reduction targets. Thoughtful development and strategic implementation of a sustainability plan will allocate limited resources to the areas of highest return on investment. During a time in which agencies are required to do more with less, the Federal government cannot afford not to meet its sustainability goals.
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Tim Fain is an Associate Partner and Service Area Leader within IBM’s Global Business Services Public Sector. Mr. Fain has more than 30 years of technical, managerial, and consulting experience. Specifically his experience involves developing organizational, economic development and environmental and energy sustainability strategies; improving business models and processes; and helping organizations develop transformation roadmaps. He uses his extensive knowledge of Federal regulatory and budgetary processes, e-Government principles and methodologies, and strategic planning to help public sector clients address policy, service, and transformational challenges.
Prior to joining IBM, Tim spent eight years at the Office of Management and Budget where he worked on a broad range of Federal government information technology and policy issues. A former US Navy Submarine Officer, Tim holds a BS in Metallurgical Engineering, a MA in National Security Studies, and a MPP in International Trade and Finance.
Tim Fain (email@example.com)
Chris Cafiero is a Senior Consultant in Public Sector Strategy and Change of IBM Global Business Services. Chris has experience in public sector consulting and completed a Masters degree in Public Policy focusing on Energy, Environmental, and Regulatory Policy. In addition, Chris has worked in energy market regulation and oversight for the Federal Government.
Chris Cafiero (firstname.lastname@example.org)