Reducing energy costs at federal agencies will take a lot more than getting employees to power down their computers at night and installing motion sensors to control the office lights.

It requires planning and a very specific strategy, says Rebecca Ranich, co-lead of Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Federal Government Energy Management initiative.

Speaking at webinar hosted by Deloitte Tuesday, entitled “Energy Management: How An Effective Strategy Can Improve your Budget and Drive Value,” Ranich outlined ways federal agencies can go green and how to do it efficiently, highlighting the need for:

  • A framework for implementing an efficient strategy.
  • Innovative tools for creating an energy investment roadmap.
  • Ways federal agencies can re-think how to supply, consume, and distribute energy.

“It’s a big puzzle to solve,” she said.

In an interview with Breaking Gov, she said that managing electricity is similar to managing information technology, a challenge the federal government took on a decade ago and wrestled to the ground. IT is no longer purchased in pieces, and energy shouldn’t be either, Ranich said.

Efforts by federal agencies to go green are not merely motivated by the desire to do the greater good. President Obama signed Executive Order 13514 on Oct. 5, 2009, setting a 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target, asking each federal agency to reduce consumption 3 percent a year over the next decade.

“They are driving toward results. Each agency is doing it at its own pace,” Ranich said.

The General Services Administration is one agency to study for success, she said. Its buildings include motion sensors that lower lights when no one is in the room and a push on carpooling. And it has a procurement proposal out for a contract called “Fast 50” to look at ways energy is being consumed and how to change it.

Here are Rainich’s 4 tips for agencies to go green:

  • Evaluate data and find out what part of your building is an energy hog.
  • Look at employee behaviors and start programs to reward people for smarter use of energy resources.
  • Evaluate which agencies are doing a great job of energy conservation.
  • Use TV screens to monitor energy use

“There’s still a learning curve out there,” Ranich added. “It’s not so much trying to prove to agencies they can do it, it’s helping them to understand what to do and when that will have the greatest impact to them.”