As the nation's largest landlord, employer, fleet operator, and purchaser of goods and services, the federal government has the opportunity, if not the responsibility, to lead by example in moving our country in a more economically efficient and environmentally sustainable direction.
Faced with tightening budgets, agencies are looking for new ways to reduce costs and increase productivity, while at the same time meeting a growing list of Congressional and executive mandates to consume less energy and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Executive Order 13514 (Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance) requires each agency to develop a Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan that sets clear goals and implementation activities.
The expanded use of intelligent efficiency – the application of information and communication technology (ICT) solutions to reduce energy consumption – has become an important means of enabling agencies to achieve these multiple objectives. Recent technological developments have created new energy-saving opportunities in the areas of smarter buildings, electricity, transportation and travel substitution. In addition, mobility and collaboration tools offer many opportunities to transform the federal workplace while cutting energy use.
In September 2012, C2ES released a report, Leading by Example: Using Information and Communication Technologies to Achieve Federal Sustainability Goals, presenting eight case studies of federal agencies using smarter technologies to use less energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time cutting costs and enhancing productivity. The eight case studies are:
A forthcoming report will draw extensively from these case studies and more broadly discuss the role of ICT in meeting sustainability objectives across the federal government.