The Energy Department's failure to follow its own energy savings advice -- which is costing taxpayers $6.6 million in unnecessary spending each year -- earns this week's Golden Hammer, a weekly distinction given out by the Washington Guardian to highlight the most egregious examples of government waste, fraud or abuse.
The inspector general found the savings from simple tactics like using meter data or alternate-speed exhaust fans to save energy could shave $6.6 million in taxpayer spending at just five facilities that were audited.
The department's National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees most of the sites, agreed with the findings and says improvements are already underway.
"We recognize that there remain additional opportunities at NNSA sites to save energy and reduce costs through implementation of energy savings opportunities," the NNSA said.
DOE could use any cost-saving measures it can get, considering it spent about $227 million on energy for buildings in fiscal year 2010 at its 47 major sites, according to the inspector general. Many places in the department have made improvements, but more remains to be done, the inspector general said.