Even the federal government isn't immune to the potential savings of green technology. Per a directive from President Obama, various departments of the U.S. government came up with 77 ways [PDF] in the span of 100 days to cut federal spending by around $102 million per year -- a fair percentage of which is made possible by technologies that help reduce the costly waste of fuel, paper, ink, electricity, and other resources.
The technologies embraced by the feds -- such as Web conferencing, PC power management, and electronic documents and signatures -- are by no means new. Some of the cost-cutting implementations might even be considered blindingly obvious, as suggested by the Wall Street Journal's take on the story: "In a Savings Shocker, the Government Discovers That Paper Has Two Sides."
This story, to me, reinforces the fact that many large organizations, both public and private, cling to a costly culture of waste tolerance. However, if someone with enough clout applies sufficient pressure, an organization can discover ways to apply technological solutions to quickly reap savings -- along with productivity boosts and environmental gains. It also reveals the opportunity for the nation's newly appointed CTO, Aneesh Chopra, to make green technology a cornerstone of his agenda, for the sake of saving tax dollars and improving governmental efficiency, all while advancing the nation's commitment to better environmental stewardship.
Bon voyage to travel
Several departments plan to slash travel costs with communication technologies. For example, the Department of the Interior expects to save nearly $1 million through fiscal year 2010 through the use of Web-based collaboration tools in lieu of in-person meetings. The Department of Homeland Security plans to utilize conference calls and Web-based training and meetings, which, alongside "maximizing use of governmental facilities for meetings conferences" will save an anticipated $2 million this year. The Department of Agriculture expects to save upward of $50,000 with teleconferencing.