Gov. Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear announce that the Capitol campus will go dark this Saturday in support of "Earth Hour," an international environmental campaign sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund.
2013 marks the fifth consecutive year of Kentucky's participation in Earth Hour. While international in scope, Earth Hour also represents grassroots recognition that everyone can contribute to the betterment of our environment.
"We're happy to show our support of the environment by participating," said Gov. Beshear. "I am committed to environmental stewardship and have implemented many progressive energy saving initiatives in state government. This includes a project in which dozens of state buildings are continuously monitored for energy usage, realizing millions in energy cost savings."
On Saturday, March 23, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. EDT, nonessential lights on the state Capitol campus, including the Capitol dome and the spotlights that illuminate the exterior Capitol walls, the Capitol Annex and the Governor's Mansion, will go dark as Kentucky joins people all over the world in a stand for energy savings and the global environment.
"Every single person can take steps to reduce our impact on the environment," said First Lady Jane Beshear. "I encourage all Kentuckians to turn off their lights in support of Earth Hour. And, I especially encourage everyone to make everyday efforts to minimize their impact on our environment."
In 2012, Kentucky won the National Association of State Facilities Administrators' (NASFA) 2012 Innovations Award for the Commonwealth Energy Management and Control System (CEMCS). The CEMCS pilot, completed in 2012, estimates ongoing annual savings of $600,000. CEMCS is an enterprise software system designed to monitor, analyze, control, and optimize energy utilization in 43 participating state buildings at 23 sites across the state. Since implementation in 2011, CEMCS has saved approximately $1.55 million, vastly surpassing originally projected savings.
A top priority of the Beshear administration has been reducing energy use in government buildings, which is a critical element of "Intelligent Energy Choices for Kentucky's Future." This strategic blueprint set aggressive goals for state facilities to reduce energy consumption by 15 percent by 2015 and 25 percent by 2025. Beyond 2025, public facilities will reduce their carbon footprint by 50 percent.
"We must all do our part to help protect the environment, and I feel state government can set an example for our citizens and help educate them," said Gov. Beshear. "That's why I am so proud of the First Lady's vision of opening the new Capitol Education Center. Students and visitors alike can see green features in action -- solar panels, a wind turbine, recycled denim insulation and a rooftop garden."
Earth Hour began in 2007 in Sydney, Australia. Since then Earth Hour has expanded to more than 7,000 cities and towns in 152 countries and territories, with hundreds of millions of participants across seven continents.
For more information about Earth Hour 2013, go to www.earthhour.org.