The U.S. Federal Government has been taking notable strides in its drive towards reining expenditure on energy within Government agencies without hampering functionality. And experts believe leveraging Big Data, among other methods is the way to bring about changes.

Sharon Burke, a senior adviser at the New America Foundation and former assistant secretary of defense for operational energy pointed out that the ‘Defense Department alone spends $20 billion annually on energy consumption.’ While speaking in Washington, D.C., earlier last week, Burke, said that about $4 billion of that total goes toward electricity.

“There’s no pushing efficiency if it is at odds with the mission because it won’t survive,” enunciates Burke, “There are a lot of opportunities for improving without losing performance,” Burke added. “It’s key because the second you lose performance, you lose.”

The expenditure on energy includes operating, heating, cooling and pumping water to and from approximately 500,000 buildings globally, reports NextGov, with Federal programs such as the administration’s Climate Action Plan and Executive Order 13514 making significant efforts in this regard.

One such effort is the GPG program that leverages General Services Administration‘s real estate portfolio as a “proving ground” to evaluate emerging building technologies that promise to improve the environmental performance of GSA’s portfolio while reducing operational costs.

Eleni Reed, the Chief Greening Officer at GSA explains that working together with national laboratories on technologies, the proving ground makes recommendations on whether to “broadly deploy, target deploy or not to deploy,” reports NextGov.

Reed also pointed out how  big data and analytics are helping in the government’s sustainability efforts; for instance, GSA’s “Smart Metering” initiative uses analytics on large data silos can track power consumption, helping property managers to better manage energy usage. “Property managers can identify spikes and analyze trends, year after year, and take action to correct,” Reed noted.

However, serious security issues remain.

“There are security vulnerabilities in the era of big data with smart metering, because loads could signify activity,” points out Jeffrey Johnson, regional command information officer for Naval District Washington.

Read more here.

(Image credit: Flickr)


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