Linking Resources and Structures: Increasing the Effectiveness of Energy Efficient Government Procurement Programs

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Many countries have mature purchasing programs that support government procurement of energy-efficient products. These programs share many characteristics – they establish guiding policy, set efficiency levels for target products, provide training to purchasers, and develop tools that facilitate life-cycle cost-effective buying decisions. Countries with mature procurement programs have collectively developed hundreds of tools aimed at facilitating the purchase of efficient products. Unfortunately, these programs also share low realization rates. Most studies place procurement compliance at 50% or below, meaning the preferred product gets purchased less than half the time.

Our research has concluded that program resources (cost calculators, product guides, etc.) are frequently developed without a thorough understanding of the process and structure of procurement systems. This lack of understanding results in resources that are poorly integrated with existing procurement programs. As a result, purchasers are required to deviate from their standard workflow to utilize the program resources. Purchasers are strongly influenced by the structures within which they operate. Those business structures (and associated systems) often oppose stated policy objectives.

This paper details how compliance could be improved by more thoughtful integration of resources with organizational structures and current procurement systems. We discuss the need for an understanding of the variety of procurement methods that are used to purchase energy-efficient products. We examine the need to integrate purchaser resources within these procurement methods. Finally, we discuss the strong influence that electronic business systems have on the priorities perceived by the purchaser.

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