Seventy-nine percent of U.S. federal government leaders charged with making recommendations or final decisions on agency purchasing believe that energy efficiency is among the most effective ways to meet energy needs, reduce energy costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions, according to a Zogby International poll sponsored by the Alliance to Save Energy and Schneider Electric.

The independent survey of 201 government leaders asked participants to rate the importance of energy efficiency within their agencies, rate the agencies’ ability to comply with federal energy-efficiency requirements, identify obstacles to that compliance and identify attitudes toward energy efficiency within the agency.

The poll also found the following:

• Two-thirds (total of 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.

• Approximately two-thirds (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—presumably negative—on their ability to pursue energy-efficiency projects. A third (32 percent) think the biggest obstacle to achieving their agency’s federally mandated energy-efficiency goals is a lack of funding.

• Roughly two-thirds (65 percent) of decision-makers believe their agency has a culture that encourages energy-efficiency practices throughout all levels and across all departments, and about half (49 percent) report that the significance of energy-efficiency in their operations has increased in the last two years.

“As the nation’s single largest energy user, the federal government plays a prominent role in the larger effort to meet our energy needs, lower GHG emissions and ensure a secure future for energy and the environment,” said Ellen Kotzbauer, segment manager, federal government, Schneider Electric. “These survey results show that agency leaders are working diligently to increase energy efficiency and ensure that smart-energy practices are ingrained at all levels in the culture of U.S. federal government agencies.”

The release of the survey data is timely considering the numerous energy-efficiency requirements on the federal government mandated by recent laws and executive orders, which may bring about an even greater concentration on energy-efficiency incentives and project funding.