Hartford, CT — Today Acadia Center released a report showing that Connecticut’s “Lead by Example” (LBE) energy efficiency program does not appear to be on track to reach its mandatory goal of a 20% reduction in energy use in state buildings by 2018. The General Assembly established the LBE program in 2011 to reduce costly energy waste in state buildings, lower the state’s significant operating expense for energy use, and make the state a model for energy efficiency and sustainability. The report finds that mandatory annual reporting for the LBE plan originally filed in 2012 has not been submitted by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), as required by law. This apparent failure to report severely hampers any attempt to review and evaluate the effectiveness of the LBE program’s performance.
“As we approach the release of the state’s next Comprehensive Energy Strategy, we thought it would be important to review the state’s progress in key clean energy areas and see if our findings could help inform and improve the next strategy document,” said Bill Dornbos, Connecticut Director and Senior Attorney for Acadia Center. “Not only did we find that DEEP’s “Lead by Example” program for energy efficiency in state buildings has not progressed as intended, but we also discovered that there has been no public reporting about this crucial program for the last four years, even though Connecticut law requires it. After searching the records maintained by the General Assembly and the State Library, we turned up no reporting on the LBE program beyond the initial plan filed in mid-2012.”
“We are releasing our report today because we want this LBE program to be a success,” Dornbos continued. “We need the multi-million-dollar cost savings for our budget-constrained state agencies and the taxpayers that ultimately pay for them, we need the major reductions in energy use to help with the state’s challenge of bringing down greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible, and we need the state to show that it can deliver on an important energy program when it matters. We urge the General Assembly to revisit the “Lead by Example” program and conduct a thorough, independent review to determine how it can be put back on track.”
State buildings present an enormous opportunity to reduce wasteful energy use, lower energy costs for state agencies, and help trim the state’s budget deficits. One estimate for total annual energy consumption in state buildings placed it at 4.1 trillion BTUs — roughly the total annual energy use of residential housing in Hartford and Waterbury combined. The total energy cost is also significant, estimated to be as high as $200 million annually, making it one of the state’s largest operating expenses.
The magnitude of the efficiency opportunity in Connecticut’s state buildings is unclear — an assessment of the potential for energy savings in state buildings has not been performed — but it would likely be cost-effective to reduce energy use in this sector by at least 20 to 30% overall. Energy savings of that size could result in approximately $40 to 60 million in annual savings on energy costs for state agencies. Current LBE program performance does not appear to be reaching these levels.
Acadia Center’s report on the status of LBE implementation in state buildings in Connecticut is available here.
Acadia Center is a non-profit, research, and advocacy organization committed to advancing the clean energy future. Acadia Center is at the forefront of efforts to build clean, low-carbon, and consumer-friendly economies. Acadia Center provides accurate and reliable information and offers a real-world and comprehensive approach to problem solving through innovation and collaboration.