Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration

Office of Audit

ADDITIONAL EFFORTS ARE NEEDED TO IMPLEMENT THE ELECTRONICS STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM AND MAXIMIZE THE ENERGY EFFICIENCY OF DESKTOP COMPUTER EQUIPMENT

Issued on June 15, 2010

Highlights

Highlights of Report Number:  2010-20-056 to the Internal Revenue Service Chief, Agency-Wide Shared Services, and the Chief Technology Officer.

IMPACT ON TAXPAYERS

Federal agencies have been directed to improve their energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Additional actions by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to minimize the energy consumption of its 110,000 desktop computers and improve printing practices could potentially save the IRS more than $18.2 million over four years.

WHY TIGTA DID THE AUDIT

This audit was initiated to determine whether the IRS has taken effective steps to ensure the acquisition, operation, and maintenance of energy efficient desktop computer equipment.

In January 2007, Executive Order 13423, Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management, was enacted to strengthen the environmental, energy, and transportation management of Federal agencies.  In July 2007, the Department of the Treasury established the Electronics Stewardship Program and Implementation Plan to ensure sustainable practices in the area of electronics and to provide policy and guidance regarding acquisition, operations and maintenance, and end-of-life management.

WHAT TIGTA FOUND

The IRS has taken actions to improve the energy efficiency of desktop computer equipment.  For example, the IRS is purchasing energy efficient desktop computer equipment and has enabled an energy saving feature on computer monitors that puts the monitors in “sleep mode” during periods of inactivity.

However, the IRS has not established an implementation strategy to ensure timely completion of applicable action items in the Electronics Stewardship Program and Implementation Plan.  For example, timely actions have not been taken to implement power management (e.g., power down/sleep mode) functionality on desktop computers (also includes laptop computers).  Policies and procedures have not been established to implement duplex (two-sided) printing on printers.  In addition, actions to ensure procurement of energy efficient desktop computer equipment need improvement.

WHAT TIGTA RECOMMENDED

TIGTA recommended that the Chief Technology Officer, in coordination with the Chief, Agency-Wide Shared Services, 1) assign clear responsibilities to ensure effective execution of the Electronics Stewardship Program and Implementation Plan and require each organization to periodically report its progress in completing the action items.  The Chief Technology Officer should 2) develop an implementation strategy and plan to ensure the applicable energy efficient practices such as power management for desktop computers and duplex printing are implemented, as soon as possible, to the maximum degree based on the IRS mission needs.  In addition, the Director, Office of Procurement, should 3) implement an effective process to timely review training records and ensure employees complete required annual training by the June 30 due date and 4) develop a tracking system to support the ongoing review of IRS efforts in acquiring energy efficient electronic products.

In their response to the report, IRS officials stated they agreed with the four recommendations and plan to take corrective actions, including providing updated progress reports of the completion of Electronics Stewardship Program and Implementation Plan action items to the Department of the Treasury, and developing implementation strategies and plans to ensure energy efficiency practices for power management on desktop computers and the default use of duplex printing.  In addition, the IRS plans to add the annual Buying Green Training to each affected employee’s learning plan automatically, and add changes to the Integrated Procurement System to implement a tracking system for Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool-registered products.

READ THE FULL REPORT

To view the report, including the scope, methodology, and full IRS response, go to:

http://www.treas.gov/tigta/auditreports/2010reports/201020056fr.html. 

Email Address:   inquiries@tigta.treas.gov

Phone Number:   202-622-6500

Web Site:   http://www.tigta.gov