OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington State University Energy Program and the Washington Department of Enterprise Services will kick off the March to Savings campaign on March 1. This no-cost call to action encourages all state employees to work together to save energy.
Reducing energy use in state government buildings is among Gov. Chris Gregoire’s initiatives to save taxpayer dollars and conserve natural resources.
March to Savings, coordinated by state agencies and led by the WSU Energy Program, will run during March 2012.
“We are pleased to deliver March to Savings as a hands-on way for state employees to actively play a role in saving energy resources,” said Jake Fey, director of the WSU Energy Program. “And, we can make it fun.”
Videos, webinars, personalized training and a technical assistance hotline will help office workers, procurement officers, field agents and building operators make several no-cost or low-cost changes to save energy and money.
Enterprise Services is also a key player in the March to Savings effort. Staff members from the award-winning Enterprise Services Energy Program – who are leading energy-saving changes on the Capitol Campus – will work with the WSU Energy Program to address questions that come into the March to Savings technical assistance hotline.
The Enterprise Services Energy Program has managed statewide projects that have saved more than 198 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and enabled public agencies and taxpayers to avoid more than $110 million in utility costs.
“Our team is ready to answer questions from building operators, managers and staff members from Washington state agencies,” said Roger Wigfield, manager of the Enterprise Services Energy Program. “Sharing lessons learned can make a real difference.”
Delivering more with fewer resources is the new normal for state employees. Since 2006, state government has reduced electricity use on the Capitol Campus by almost one-third. Many agencies have reduced building energy costs with retrofit projects, leveraging innovative public-private partnerships with companies, including utilities, that offer incentives and other funding to help pay for these investments in energy efficiency.
One of many success stories comes from the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). During 2009 alone, simple no-cost and low-cost energy efficiency measures at DSHS saved $265,700. Most of this success is due to the efforts of employees who wanted to make a difference. The rest is attributable to strategic – but modest – investments in energy efficiency improvements. These include making sure buildings were heated and cooled only during work hours, adjusting thermostats, maintaining heating and air conditioning equipment, and encouraging staff to switch lights and appliances off when not in use.
The March to Savings campaign makes it easy for all state employees to build on this momentum.
The WSU Energy Program designed and is implementing March to Savings in partnership with Enterprise Services under contract with the Washington State Department of Commerce with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). This local investment of federal ARRA funds allows the WSU Energy Program to offer educational materials and expert assistance during March to Savings at no cost to state agencies. The intended outcome is to immediately reduce the state’s operating budget.