Arizona lawmakers have ordered the financially strapped state government to cut its utility bills.
Legislation signed into law Monday by Gov. Janet Napolitano requires state-owned buildings, including universities, to reduce energy use by at least 10 percent by July 1, 2008.
The plan requires that the savings increase to 15 percent three years later.
The measure, HB2324, also mandates that new state buildings must be constructed under energy-efficient standards that the state’s Department of Commerce is developing.
To ensure savings go beyond heating, air conditioning and lighting, the legislation also requires that state agencies purchase only products certified by the federal government as "Energy Star," which use less electricity. The only exception is if the agency can prove that during the life of the alternative product, the higher cost would be made up by the lower energy use.
Jeff Schlegel predicted that Arizona could save $11 million a year by 2011.
He is the Arizona representative of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, a publicly funded nonprofit organization that helped craft the legislation sponsored by Rep. Randy Graf, R-Green Valley.