For a growing number of government contractors,the green revolution is moving beyond makingPCs and data centers run more efficiently.Contractors are seeing an emerging market in helpingagencies manage their carbon footprints.That includes not only making their information technologysystems run better, but also using IT to monitoroverall energy use, such as electricity, gas, steam andwater, and analyzing the energy consumption of theiroperations.Companies are seeing opportunities to installadvanced metering, manage equipment life cycles,audit operations and train personnel.But getting customers to see that vision can still bechallenging."The biggest problem is we have a lot of people toeducate," said Jeff Wacker, a fellow and futurist at EDSCorp. "To go green, too many people look at the bitsand pieces and then the reaction is, 'That is going tocost me money.' "But with the tight budgets agencies are experiencing,saving money can be a strong selling point for goinggreen. In addition, congressional mandates ? such asthe 2005 Energy Policy Act, 2007 EnergyIndependence and Security Act, and Executive Order13423 ? require agencies to collect information onenergy consumption and to look for ways to reduceusage and lower costs, including using alternative fuels.Data collection, benchmarking and data analysis areat the heart of many of the opportunities contractorsare finding.The Navy, for instance, launched its AdvancedMetering Infrastructure Program in September with a$250 million contract that went to systems integratorAmerican Systems Inc.; Square-D, a maker of electricalcontrol devices; and Weston Solutions Inc., an environmentalengineering company, said Bill Anderson, aNavy program manager.Although the service undertook the project to meetcurrent mandates, it is moving toward measuring itscarbon footprint, he said."I expect that with the next round of mandates thatwe'll have to capture our carbon footprint data, andwe've started to do that," he said.The Navy plans to install 12,000 meters on buildingsat its facilities worldwide. They will monitor electricity,gas, steam and water use.Although many of the buildings have meters, theolder meters don't allow for the type of monitoringneeded. The new ones are solid state as opposed toelectro-mechanical and will connect to a meter datamanager system, which will collect and analyze thedata, he said.The project supports the notion that you can'tmanage what you don't measure, said Peter Smith,executive vice president of operations at AmericanSystems Corp."We really look at this as a systems integration project," he said. The data-analysis aspect, forinstance, will allow the Navy to identifywhat is driving spikes in electricity use."Right now they don't know," Smithsaid.Data collection is a critical startingpoint when looking for efficiencies, saidRonald Peoples, who manages the federalconsulting team at Citrix Systems Inc.When Citrix goes in to help an organizationvirtualize its servers, it starts byasking about processing power, memory,storage and use."You can't forget the users, too,"Peoples said. "If you have different typesof users, that has to be factored in."The questioning helps Citrix and itscustomers determine where they canreduce costs, what equipment theyshould buy and how they can manageworkloads.Along with collecting data, it isimportant to identify where the informationis coming from and integratethose sources into an enterprise managementsystem, said Gary Rahl, a vicepresident at Booz Allen Hamilton Inc."That way, you can get to the data morereadily and you don't have to gothrough the exercise of digging it upand estimating it each time you need it,"he said.After establishing the baseline onenergy use, it is critical to benchmarkthe use, said Chet Thaker, chief executiveofficer of Telebright Corp., whichmakes software for energy-efficiencymonitoring."Knowing what you are spending andmonitoring your energy use [aren't]enough," he said."Benchmarking means[asking] how good is your building atusing energy compared to buildings ofsimilar size and use characteristics?"But don't make people sweat ? literally,Thaker said. "What you want isgreater productivity from people.Saving a few bucks on energy by makingthem miserable isn't the thing todo," he said.Often simple actions can get agenciesstarted on being more efficient.After it does an assessment of anagency's energy use and carbon footprint,SRA International Inc. presentstwo sets of recommendations. The firstset involves easy steps, but they can havea significant result, said Timothy Cooke,vice president and director of strategicinitiatives at the company."These are low-cost or no-cost things,such as policy changes or switch settings,"he said. "Organizations need totake advantage of the technologies thatthey already have in place."It isn't uncommon for agencies to buyEnergy Star-compliant equipment andnot activate those features, said AnthonyCicco, senior principal and director ofenterprisewide solutions at SRA.Many companies are starting to seegrowth opportunities beyond the easytargets.Booz Allen has done an alternative-fuelsanalysis for the New York CityDepartment of Citywide AdministrativeServices, which operates a fleet of severalthousand vehicles. The company alsoconducted a greenhouse-gas inventoryfor the Air Force and is working on acarbon footprint analysis for the U.S.Postal Service."When you organize emissions into aframework that makes sense to theorganization, you can begin to examinewhat to do about them," Rahl said.Until recently, agencies had been askingfor bits and pieces of an overall solution,but that is changing.Science Applications InternationalCorp., for example, has been providingenergy procurement, audit and managementservices; assessments of riskmanagement, carbon and renewableenergy; and energy-efficiency design-and-build work for several years, saidMichael Mondshine, assistant vice presidentand senior policy analyst for climatechange services at SAIC."We have done the pieces, but now[agencies] are starting to think aboutpackaging them into a comprehensiveprogram," he said.Although requests for proposalsincorporating a holistic approach arestill rare, many contractors remain convincedthat there is an opportunity.SRA, like other commercial companies,has done its own internal assessmentto reduce its expenditures. Thesame potential is there for its customers."Where you can take what amountsto wasted energy that is doing no oneany good and redeploy those assets?there is a business in there," Cookesaid. "We think this is just the tip ofthe iceberg."
START WITH DATA
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF WHAT YOU HAVE
Nick Wakeman (nwakeman@1105govinfo.
com) is the editor of Washington Technology.