20x10 Initiative

20 x 10: Energy efficiency in state government

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the goal of 20x10?
    A twenty percent reduction in facility energy requirements by executive branch agencies, by the end of 2010. Reductions will be sought in electricity, natural gas, propane and fuel oil use.
  • What about vehicles?
    Transportation fuels are covered under another, related initiative: 30 mpg. As explained elsewhere, state vehicles purchased between now and the end of 2010 are supposed to have a fleet average of 30 mpg.
  • Is the 20x10 challenge to each agency or to all executive agencies collectively?
    The challenge applies to each agency.
  • What does that mean in terms of how my agency gets evaluated?
    The Governor expects all agencies to aim for the 20 percent improvement in efficiency. Every agency can improve energy use in its operation and maintenance work, purchasing practices and employee actions. However, major capital investments could be a different matter. It only makes financial sense to make cost-effective capital investments. Further, to the extent that the most cost-effective projects government-wide can be identified, it makes sense to do those first.
  • What if my agency doesn’t have cost-effective capital investments or doesn’t have a high enough priority to get funded?
    Agencies that can show that they’ve investigated the matter and that their buildings already were so energy efficient that they didn’t qualify for major capital investments are in a much better position to explain, if need be, why they couldn’t improve their energy efficiency by 20 percent.
  • Is all agency energy use covered by 20x10?
    Yes, with some understanding of the challenges some agencies will face. Services such as prisons, hospitals and street lighting cannot be curtailed or easily interrupted. Health and safety will not be compromised but all operations should be evaluated and all agencies will be expected to show efficiency improvements. Again, this will be figured into the determination of how successful the agency was in meeting the 20x10 goal.
  • What about the offices of other state-wide elected officials and the university system?
    The Governor is challenging them to set the same goal for themselves.
  • When does 20x10 start?
    It started January 1, 2008. Anything you do now will be credited to 20x10.
  • What’s the base period we’re being compared against?
    Calendar year 2007.
  • When will we know how much energy the agency is using?
    Soon, most likely this summer. Because state government accounting has been set up to manage energy bills rather than energy use, there isn’t a ready-made data base to use for 20x10. Fortunately, information on past energy use and energy bills exists and is being collected. The surveys agencies are filling out are part of establishing baseline data and monitoring energy use.
  • When will our performance be measured?
    Agencies are encouraged to report anecdotes of successful projects and measured savings on individual facilities as soon as they can. Measurements of agency-wide progress will start by 2009, possibly sooner. Final results will be measured after all the investments under 20x10 are installed, which means as soon as possible after the end of 2010.
  • How will we get our energy use data?
    DEQ will provide agencies with the base numbers and regular updates--probably quarterly--once the data base is set up.
  • What if the weather is colder or hotter than normal?
    Agency energy use will be normalized to account for differences in annual weather patterns.
  • What if the agency changes the number of employees or increases the number of facilities it has?
    Given the limits of the current state budget, an agency is unlikely to be making changes sufficient to cause a big percentage difference in its overall energy use. Special situations where this is not the case should be discussed with the Office of Budget and Program Planning.
  • Is the goal measured in terms of Btu’s, carbon emissions or dollars?
    It will be measured in Btu’s. The goal is improved efficiency, that is, using less fuel to run state government. Of course, energy efficiency does decrease carbon emissions and does save money. In FY07, executive branch agencies alone spent over $12 million for energy use in buildings and other facilities, so the potential financial savings are substantial. Exactly how big the savings will be depends on how much rates rise, but it’s certain the state will pay less for energy because of 20x10 than it otherwise would have. Also, by lowering overall energy needs, 20x10 will complement other, separate projects agencies have to increase the use of renewable energy.
  • Do we worry about whether an investment is cost-effective?
    Yes. Agencies need to make smart investments. Think about your costs over the life of the investment. Don’t forget that energy-efficiency investments often reduce maintenance costs and always reduce your risk from higher energy rates. The goal is to save the most energy throughout the entire agency. One super efficient but expensive purchase may not be as a good a deal as spending the same amount on ten purchases with modest improvements in energy efficiency. Buying laptop computers and hybrid cars for everyone is not what 20x10 is about.
  • Where will we get our energy savings?
    You can improve energy efficiency in your operation and maintenance work, purchasing practices, employee actions and in your building investments.
  • Where should we start?
    Start with your maintenance and your equipment purchases. Most of the equipment you buy and much of the maintenance work you do now will still be affecting your energy use at the end of 2010. The State Procurement Bureau can help you buy Energy Star equipment. An energy audit of your building, if one is available from your utility company, can help guide maintenance decisions as well as capital investments.
  • What about operating practices?
    Operating practices, such as timing of lighting and temperature setback, can produce energy savings with very little investment. Get your energy efficient maintenance and purchasing practices in place, then move to operating practices. You may need to improve these gradually, on a schedule that allows operators and staff in general to learn more energy efficient practices. Some changes, like temperature setback, you’ll want to try this winter, to see if your existing heating system will perform OK, so you’ll know if capital investments will be needed next year.
  • What about employee actions?
    These will be critical to achieving 20x10, but work them in on a schedule that supports your core mission. Practices like proper management of lighting and use of energy-saving features of computers should become standard operating procedure, but in this initial phase of 20x10, emphasize smart investments, big and small. DEQ will be providing employee training, both for facility operators and for the general workforce.
  • What about capital investments?
    Make some now, more later. Your agency probably has limited budget authority and building authority to make major investments this biennium. Low cost investments can be made out of your operations budget or in cooperation with some of the many utility programs that are available. The major investments under 20x10 will require Legislative approval.
  • Must the agency have a plan for capital investments?
    Yes. Any agency that owns or controls investments in facilities must have—or be part of—a plan for cost-effective energy investments. More details on this will be in the EPP guidance documents. DEQ is currently seeking engineers to conduct energy analysis reports on state buildings. DEQ can fund these studies and recover the costs from energy savings when a project is completed.
  • What about leased buildings?
    They’ll be addressed later. Neither the energy use nor the energy bills of most leased buildings currently are tracked in the state budget system. One of the tasks down the road in 20x10 is devising a method by which the Governor and the Legislature have more say in the energy use of leased buildings.
  • What should we do about leased buildings for the time being?
    Invite the building owner to take up the Governor’s challenge for energy efficiency. As an inducement to do so, require that the owner of any building to be leased by your agency provide you with the results of an energy audit. That won’t obligate the owner to improve the energy efficiency of the building, but having the results in hand might inspire some to take action.
  • Which agencies have the lead in 20x10?
    Each agency does. Every agency is expected to incorporate the goal of increased energy efficiency in its own work. Department of Administration, Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Transportation will provide technical support on various aspects of 20x10. The Office of Budget and Program Planning will provide budget oversight and resolve any questions between and among agencies.