Order emphasizes energy efficiency and reduced consumption on the state level.

Gov. Jack Markell signed an executive order Feb. 17 mandating a host of energy efficiency measures for state agencies, including ambitious new consumption targets, commitments to renewable energy sources and expanded recycling efforts.

Markell said the plans are meant to serve as an example to private companies and as an illustration of the state’s commitment to the green economy.

 At the top of the governor’s list is a charge to cut energy use among state agencies by 30% compared to 2008 levels before the end of fiscal year 2015, starting with a 10% reduction target for the end of fiscal year 2011.

Last year, agencies spent $35 million to light, heat and cool their buildings — a figure Markell said can be slashed through the use of new technology to control lighting, thermostats and computer power consumption.

“It’s bold, but we believe it’s achievable,” Markell said of the plan. “The economic health of our state is tied to our environmental health.”

Markell’s order also requires that at least 30% of the energy used to power state buildings come from renewable sources like solar and offshore wind power.

The governor also wants to reevaluate how much the state pays for the electricity it does use.
“We’re going to leverage our buying power as a large user of electricity,” he said.

His order also mandates that all new state buildings be constructed to U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, commonly known as LEED standards.

That includes the use of recycled and renewable materials in construction, as well as design elements that reduce pollution and have a minimal impact on the natural environment.
In terms of the day-to-day operations of state agencies, the order calls for a 75% reduction in waste sent to landfills, which Markell said means recycling more office paper and reusing materials that would otherwise be thrown away, like demolition debris.

Budget Director Ann Visalli said the state already is in the process of dramatically reducing the size of the state’s vehicle fleet, which eats up money for fuel and maintenance and also produces pollution.

The next step, Visalli said, will be to replace as many state vehicles as possible with hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles that are cleaner and more efficient.

“Any reductions we have in [the fleet] are going to have a real significant fiscal impact,” she said.
In addition to restructuring the fleet, Markell’s order also requires state agencies to reduce their vehicle miles traveled by 15% before the end of fiscal year 2012.

Sen. Harris B. McDowell III, D-Wilmington North, chair of the Senate Energy and Transportation Committee, said the governor’s initiatives are a way for the state to show businesses that energy efficiency measures can save money.

“We’re going to need the private sector to step forward,” he said. “This leadership by example will go a long way towards that.”

Gov. Jack Markell’s executive order focuses on six areas:

1. Reduce state agencies’ energy consumption by 10% before the end of fiscal year 2001, by 20% before the end of fiscal year 2013, and by 30% before the end of fiscal year 2015
2. Power state buildings using at least 30% renewable energy by the end of fiscal year 2013.
3. Implement LEED green building standards for all new state buildings.
4. Reduce landfill waste among state agencies by 75% before the end of fiscal year 2012.
5. Cut state vehicle emissions and petroleum consumption by 25% and reduce total vehicle miles traveled by 15% before the end of fiscal year 2012.
6. Develop a state procurement process that favors the purchase of environmentally friendly products.

Email Doug Denison at doug.denison@doverpost.com.