By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Thursday Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) on Thursday announced that the State of Alabama was able to cut energy costs by nearly four million dollars in 2012 at state government agencies.
The savings were found after Bentley issued a December 2011 Executive Order demanding that state facilities reduce energy consumption by 30 percent from 2005 levels.
Governor Bentley said in a written statement, “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. 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 report was prepared by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA). ADECA Director Jim Byard Jr. said, “ADECA is working with agencies to make state government a model for cost cutting through energy efficiency. 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.”
ADECA prepared the report by analyzing energy data submitted by 29 different state agencies. The state has cut their energy usage by 10 percent in 2012 alone for a total savings of $3.9 million. Gov. Bentley has ordered the state’s agencies to achieve the full savings goal by 2015.
The Alabama Department of Corrections was able to contribute the largest, cutting their energy used by 16% saving taxpayers $1.5 million. The agency identified 480 energy conservation areas at 34 facilities statewide. The prison system upgraded its lighting, installed programmable thermostats, installed occupancy sensors that cut off the lights when no one is in the room, and added centrally-controlled energy systems. Much of these upgrades were paid for with a 2009 grant from ADECA.
The Alabama Emergency Management Agency cut their energy costs by an impressive 39.5% saving taxpayers $79,848 in annual costs. The agency renovated the agency’s Clanton headquarters, installing energy-efficient heating, air conditioning and ventilation equipment and lighting upgrades. A new 12,000-square-foot annex building built in 2008 was constructed using modern energy efficiency standards.
The Alabama Department of Environmental Management, Alabama Forestry Commission, the Military Department, the University of Montevallo and Athens State University all reported that they had cut their energy consumption by 10% or more.
Some state agencies and institutions lease office space and do not receive utility bills so are not included in the energy-saving program.