Governor Robert Bentley on Thursday announced that the State of Alabama has saved taxpayers nearly four million dollars by cutting energy costs of state government agencies. The savings reported for 2012 came following a December 2011 Executive Order issued by Governor Bentley requiring state facilities to reduce energy consumption by 30 percent from 2005 levels.
"State employees are taking many steps to reduce costs and make better use of taxpayer dollars. State agencies are operating more efficiently, and our energy-saving program is making a significant difference," Governor Bentley said. "The savings reported today prove that we will meet and exceed our original financial target as more agencies are able to participate and additional conservation measures are implemented."
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs analyzed energy data submitted by agencies and presented the data in a report to Governor Bentley. Agencies included in the first progress report achieved about a 10 percent reduction in energy use in 2012 for a total savings of $3.9 million. The order sets a 2015 deadline for reaching the full savings goal.
"ADECA is working with agencies to make state government a model for cost cutting through energy efficiency," ADECA Director Jim Byard Jr. said. "With three years left in the project, 72 percent of our original $5.4 million in estimated energy savings has been achieved, and we expect to significantly exceed the estimated target before 2015."
The Department of Corrections reported the largest reduction in the report, saving $1.5 million, a 16-percent decrease from 2005. Energy-saving initiatives have been underway in the department for the past few years. The department recently completed more than 480 energy conservation measures at 34 facilities statewide using energy performance contracts and a federally-funded grant administered by ADECA in 2009. The measures included lighting upgrades, programmable thermostats, occupancy sensors that turn lights off when rooms are vacant and centrally-controlled energy systems.
The Alabama Emergency Management Agency reported the largest percentage reduction in the report, using 39.5 percent less energy than in 2005 and saving $79,848 in annual costs. Renovations to the agency's headquarters in Clanton included energy-efficient heating, air conditioning and ventilation equipment and lighting upgrades. A 12,000-square-foot annex building constructed in 2008 was built to energy efficiency standards.
Other agencies and institutions that reduced energy consumption by 10 percent or more include the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, Alabama Forestry Commission, the Military Department, the University of Montevallo and Athens State University.
Many of the cost reductions were the result of implementing low- or no-cost conservation measures including turning off lights when rooms are not occupied, switching to more efficient lighting and turning off computers at night. Other savings were achieved through utility rate reviews and adjustments.
Twenty state agencies and institutions submitted data to ADECA using free online software that enables building managers to track the energy performance of their facilities. State agencies that lease office space and do not receive utility bills are not included in the energy-saving program.