CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today launched a year-around energy efficiency initiative expected to save the state millions of dollars annually by making slight adjustments to the thermostats in thousands of state facilities. Natural gas costs remain at near-record levels and by turning down the thermostat in state office buildings and other facilities from now until April 15, 2007, the state is expected to save an estimated $4.1 million in heating costs. The Governor made this decision based on $4.8 million in savings generated through his 2005 Winter Energy Conservation Plan as natural gas costs reached record levels.
“We’re using a common-sense tactic that households all over the state use to lower their energy bills: turning down the thermostats,” Gov. Blagojevich said. “Experts predict that natural gas prices will be high this winter and consumers, businesses and government can make adjustments now to help keep energy costs within budget.”
The Energy Conservation Initiative will impact nearly 2,000 state facilities, including office buildings, warehouses, garages and other facilities. This winter, most facilities will lower their daytime temperatures from 70-72 degrees to 68 degrees. At nighttime and during off-hours, facilities not open to the public or to employees working routine schedules will turn back their thermostats to 55 degrees. Residential facilities such as prisons and military barracks will lower their temperatures to 68 degrees around the clock.
Next summer, thermostats at most facilities will again be raised from 72 degrees to 74 – 78 degrees during occupied periods, and to 80 degrees during unoccupied periods. The initiative does not impact temperatures at in-patient healthcare facilities, homeless shelters and other buildings that house vulnerable populations, or where temperature-sensitive public safety and law enforcement operations are conducted.
The Energy Resource Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago partners with the Illinois Department of Central Management Services to make recommendations about how to best manage its energy portfolio and provides estimates on projected savings. The Center continues to compile the results from the 2006 Summer Energy Conservation initiative.
“Natural gas costs are expected to be nearly as challenging as last year, and it’s prudent to put cost-saving measures in place so state government can be a responsible steward of our tax dollars,” said Paul Campbell, director of Central Management Services, the state agency that manages the majority of facilities on behalf of agencies in the Executive branch.