DOE Promises to Take a Page From Its Own Book

Photo by oakridgelabnews. Some rights reserved.

As the New York Times points out, a new OIG Audit Report released yesterday suggests that the Department of Energy could stand to learn a thing or two themselves about how to better conserve energy at their own research facilities. The report, “Opportunities for Energy Savings at Department of Energy Facilities” (a title that flickers with the wry irony of post-modern authors like Pynchon and Vonnegut), concludes that if the DOE had pursued “readily available, low-cost energy-saving opportunities” at these facilities, they could have saved $6.6 million annually, nearly 1/7th of the current $42 million in “available energy-saving opportunities as defined by EISA 2007 requirements.”

The report goes on to discuss specific instances where unnecessarily wasteful practices have taken place at the five sites reviewed for the audit. At the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, for instance, the OIG found that by installing temperature redistribution fans and using speed drives on supply and exhaust air fans, the DOE could save $77,000 annually for an easy-fix measure that would cost only $7,000 for installation. Further, the auditors found a number of electricity meters at the Y-12 National Security Complex that simply were unknowingly malfunctioning, and that certain buildings had not been correctly inspected to determine if heating and lighting settings were operating as intended.

According to the “Management Reaction” section of the report, DOE Management at these sites “concurred with [the OIG’s] recommendations and provided actions that will be taken to address issues indentified in [the] report.”

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