1E Study: 87% of Federal Agencies May Not Be Ready to Lower Energy Use

According to the IT efficiency software company, federal agency priorities for energy management are in consolidating hardware and generating awareness.

1E, an IT efficiency software company, recently released study results that measured federal agencies’ awareness of and ability to comply with energy management rules and regulations. The research indicates that only 13 percent of federal agency respondents were “definitely ready” to comply with mandatory energy reduction programs at the end of 2010.

“The federal government faces major budgetary challenges,” said Nick Milne-Home, president of 1E. “We are concerned that many federal agencies may not be aware of mandatory energy reduction programs, which should generate substantial savings for all. We estimate that federal agencies could save nearly $6 billion over the next five years in energy and server costs alone.”

The study found that more than a quarter of respondents think their federal agency is not required to comply with mandatory energy reduction programs. Basic awareness of programs varied:

  • 50 percent were aware of the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative,
  • 38 percent were aware of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Scorecards,
  • 31 percent were aware of the Executive Order 13423 and Executive Order 13514, and
  • 23 percent of respondents were unaware of any such programs.

Energy management strategies varied across respondent agencies, though consolidating hardware and generating awareness were top responses when asked about current energy management strategies. “This suggests that energy management is still in its infancy within federal agencies,” added Milne-Home. “Proven PC power management solutions … have been available for several years and have saved commercial customers more than $550 million in energy costs to date. Comprehensive server efficiency solutions are also available."

Virtual server sprawl may be set to become a larger problem within federal agency data centers, as 58 percent of respondents were aware of the issue, yet 29 percent do not monitor their virtual servers’ performance to determine if those assets are doing useful work, or the tasks for which they were bought and provisioned. As many respondents indicated that their energy management strategy is to consolidate hardware, the survey suggests that underused virtual servers will become a greater cost drain on agencies if gone unchecked.

1E executed this research project in Q4 2010. Twenty-six respondents participated in the study, all of which worked within an IT role at a federal agency.