Seventy-nine percent of U.S. federal government agency purchasing decision makers believe that energy efficiency is one of the most effective ways to meet energy needs, reduce energy costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new Zogby International poll sponsored by the Alliance to Save Energy and Schneider Electric.
However, 32 percent of agency decision makers say a lack of funding is a major obstacle to achieving mandated energy-efficiency goals. Eighteen percent say it is the lack of internal enthusiasm to execute, and another 18 percent see organizational barriers such as procedures as a major obstacle.
The survey finds that energy efficiency is a key priority for federal agencies. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said improving energy efficiency is among their top five priorities, while 36 percent say it is a second-tier priority. Only 21 percent report that improving energy efficiency is a low priority.
The independent survey of 201 government leaders asked participants to rate the importance of energy efficiency within their agencies and their ability to comply with federal energy efficiency requirements, as well as identify obstacles to that compliance and attitudes towards energy efficiency within the agency.
The poll, released in conjunction with the GOVgreen Conference, also finds that 66 percent of the decision makers see either cost savings (36 percent) or environmental benefits (30 percent) as the major driver of their agencies’ energy-efficiency efforts.
Another finding reveals that 64 percent of these federal agency decision makers believe that the current national economic environment and potential tightening of their agency’s budget might have an impact on their ability to implement energy-efficiency projects.
But 65 percent of respondents believe their agencies have a culture that encourages energy-efficiency practices throughout all levels and across all departments. Only 16 percent disagreed with that statement.
Nearly 50 percent report that the significance of energy efficiency in their operations has increased in the last two years, while 35 percent report the significance was about the same, and 11 percent say it has decreased.
Thirty-seven percent of respondents report that their agencies are applying practices like continuous monitoring, recommissioning technologies and maintenance to ensure energy savings are maintained and improved throughout their facilities’ lifecycle, while 17 percent say their agencies are not making a great effort.
The report also finds that 53 percent of government leaders say their agencies have metered and audited all or most of their facilities in order to understand their energy consumption trends, benchmark building energy use, determine energy efficiency investment priorities and measure and verify the impact/success of those investments.
In September, the White House released federal agencies’ sustainability plans, providing a first look at how the government plans to decrease its greenhouse gas emissions over the next 10 years.