Gov. Chris Gregoire today announced she has signed an executive order, directing all cabinet agencies to reduce total building energy use by 20 percent by 2020.
"By increasing the energy efficiency of state buildings, we have the opportunity to save energy, reduce the costs of government, and make our buildings more comfortable," Gregoire said. "At the same time, additional investments in energy efficiency will also create jobs, many of them in the construction trades -- a sector of the work force that has been particularly hit hard by the recession."
In March, Gregoire joined the governors of Oregon and California, as well as the premier of British Columbia at the annual Pacific Coast Collaborative meeting, where the leaders announced a West Coast initiative on energy efficiency. All four jurisdictions made a joint commitment to improve the energy efficiency of state buildings, and to adopt the goal of reducing energy use in state buildings by 20 percent by 2020.
"If we're really going to make a dent in greenhouse gas emissions, it's going to take the work of all of us," Gregoire said. "I'm glad our neighboring states and provinces have agreed to meet this challenge, and I'd encourage private businesses to adopt the same goal. This is a common sense plan that makes financial sense, as well -- as it calls to invest only in projects that pay for themselves."
In Washington state, heating, cooling and operating state buildings is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from state operations, producing almost 80 percent of carbon emissions in the state's emission inventory. State agencies, colleges and universities over the last five years have made significant progress in reducing energy use, including investments of more than $325 million in energy efficiency projects.
Agencies have been directed to use a 2009 baseline use of energy to monitor progress. Exceptions can be made by the Department of Enterprise Services if an agency finds the 2020 goal can't be met in a cost effective manner.
Gregoire has directed the state's Department of Commerce to monitor and report on state agency progress in implementing the executive order.
To read a copy of the executive order, visit: http://governor.wa.gov/execorders/eo_12-06.pdf