As the steward of taxpayer dollars, state government has the responsibility of ensuring that we operate with utmost efficiency and fiscally responsible actions. And as stewards of the world around us, we all have the responsibility of reducing our environmental impact. The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality has shown tremendous progress toward these goals in recent years. As it strives to protect and enhance the state's environment, it not only "talks the talk", it "walks the walk".
In 2007, ADEQ moved into its new, six-story headquarters on the shores of the Arkansas River, giving it the distinction of being the first green state government building in Arkansas. Architects, contractors and staff planned and constructed it with environmental protection, energy efficiency and appropriate use of resources in mind. The project received the "Three Green Globes" certification from the Green Building Initiative for its resource conservation and energy efficiency. In 2008, it was LEED-certified at the Gold Level for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
And just this month, the Building Owners and Managers Association of Little Rock, or BOMA, awarded ADEQ the prestigious EARTH Award. The building was chosen as part of an international competition that recognizes buildings that distinguish themselves for environmentally sound, building-management practices. The final competition culminates in the Outstanding Building of the Year (TOBY) awards. Among building professionals, the TOBY is the ultimate in excellence. The ADEQ submission will now advance to a regional competition in Dallas on April 9th.
ADEQ's efforts are not only garnering local and national recognition, but are also producing tangible positive impacts for Arkansas's bottom line. The agency has reduced its vehicle fuel consumption by 15% and paper consumption by 44%. Recycling and conservation efforts have led to a 36% decrease in solid waste. Most impressive is the 33% percent reduction in overall energy usage by the agency, saving the State $90,000 a year in utility bills. With its outdoor amphitheater, River Trail, and use of low-emission materials and natural light, the building's design promotes a positive indoor and outdoor work environment. This leads to a more productive, active and healthy workforce.
ADEQ is a positive example for all of state government and for businesses around Arkansas. To spur similar progress throughout state agencies, the State, in partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative, administers a Revolving Loan Fund for Energy Efficiency. This money provides capital to advance and encourage state agencies to make improvements to their facilities.
The ADEQ headquarters has shown that energy-efficient design and management provide a healthy workplace and a healthy bottom line. In a time when our national economy has slowed, we must be ever-vigilant about how we use taxpayer dollars. All state agencies are working to implement Strategic Energy Plans to further reduce our energy consumption. Sustainability in design and management will create a healthier Arkansas and a healthier future.