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NC Utility Savings Initiative Saves Taxpayers $55.3 Million in Last Year

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THIS INFORMATION FROM A NEWS RELEASE SENT TO THE WWAY NEWSCHANNEL 3 NEWSROOM

RALEIGH, NC (NC DEPT. OF COMMERCE) –- North Carolina's Utility Savings Initiative saved the state's taxpayers more than $55.3 million in utility costs in the last fiscal year and avoided emitting more than 164,886 metric tons of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere, according to a report issued recently by the North Carolina Energy Office. Since the Utility Savings Initiative was launched in 2003, the state has saved more than $325 million while investing $11 million into utility savings improvements in North Carolina government, university and community college facilities.

"These savings are very significant, especially during these times when all of us need to make sure we are getting the most out of every dollar – particularly taxpayer dollars," said Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco. "The Utility Savings Initiative is making government more efficient, while helping conserve important resources. We are not just saving tax dollars but protecting our environment too."

The Utility Saving Initiative was an outgrowth of the 2002 Governor’s Commission to Promote Government Efficiency and Savings on State Spending. It is a statewide program to cut utility spending and use in public buildings. State law requires that per square-foot utility (electricity and water) consumption be cut by 20 percent by the end of 2010 and by 30 percent by the end of 2015 – based on utility use for the 2002-03 fiscal year.

The Energy Office assists agencies in managing their utility bills through a variety of programs including:
* Energy Management Diploma Certificate program – This course is offered free to all state agency employees and provides a comprehensive, hands-on practical energy management education.
* Performance Contracting – This program offers state and local agencies a way to finance energy improvements and upgrades with the savings from those improvements.
* Strategic Energy Plans – Providing agencies with the resources and assistance to evaluate their current energy use, project future utility needs and develop plans to meet goals in the most cost efficient manner.

Key findings in the report, submitted to the General Assembly, include:
* $38.6 million in avoided energy costs in the 2009-10 fiscal year and cutting energy use by 12 percent per square foot of space. Energy costs during the same period grew by 38 percent.
* $16.8 million in avoided water costs in 2009-10 fiscal year were achieved, while costs per gallon increased by 80 percent. Savings, based on the 2002-03 fiscal year are 31 percent – exceeding the mandated 2015 goal.
* 164,886 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions avoided in the last fiscal year and 1.1 million metric tons avoided during the same time period – the equivalent of exhaust from 210,325 automobiles or 133,495 homes.
* $325 million in overall savings since the program was launched in 2002-03.

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