Governor Jon Huntsman encourages Utahns to focus on personal habits and practices for energy conservation in conjunction with Earth Day, which is Sunday.
"We must work together to be more aware of our actions and their consequences on the beautiful world we all inhabit," Governor Huntsman said. "On this Earth Day I hope we take an introspective inventory of our lives and contemplate what we can do as individuals to be more eco friendly and energy efficient in all that we do."
Energy Policy Advisor to the Governor, Dr. Laura Nelson stresses Utah's Energy Efficiency Policy in celebration of Earth Day.
"When we think about pollution we think about cars and smokestacks. But buildings are a major factor of electric and water use and waste production," she said. "Just think, if we could reduce energy and water use, or recycle our waste back into our buildings, it would be the best thing we could do for the people that share this planet."
The 2006 Governor's Energy Efficiency Policy set goals to increase energy efficiency by 20 percent statewide by year 2015. The State of Utah is leading by example by:
* Using High Performance Building Design Standards for new State construction projects.
* Applying cost-effective technologies and advanced management techniques for its 36 million square feet of State-owned and operated buildings.
Green high performance buildings can save up to 30 percent on energy use, 35 percent in carbon emission, 50 percent in water use, and 75 percent in building waste. The financial impact is 1.5 to 2 percent on construction costs with a return on investment of 20 to 40 percent. When all the benefits are considered, the costs are insignificant.
The State is currently updating the existing buildings with the latest lighting technology. In addition, many of the buildings are being "tuned-up." Every agency and institution is involved throughout the State. The $1.5 million investment will be equal to the savings within three years.
The State has kept implementation costs low by taking advantage of Rocky Mountain Power's energy incentive program. Students from Southern Utah University and inmates at Central Utah Correctional Facility will install their own lighting upgrades, respectively. These unconventional partnerships and volume purchases will help drive costs down.