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July 3, 2006

Governor Blagojevich announces success in state’s winter energy conservation plan; nearly $5 million saved by turning down the thermostat in state buildings last winter
Governor also announces initiative to reduce cooling costs at state buildings this summer

CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the success of his administrative order to lower the thermostats in thousands of government facilities this past winter.  By setting back the thermostat in state office buildings and other facilities from November 1 through April 15, 2006, the state saved an estimated $4.8 million in heating costs, according to the Energy Resource Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  The Governor took this action as part of his Emergency Energy Assistance Initiative, as consumers were confronted with steep increases in winter heating costs due to record-high natural gas prices last fall. 

Based on the success of the efforts to reduce costs through the winter, Governor Blagojevich also announced today that the temperature would be raised in state facilities beginning July 10 to reduce cooling costs this summer. 

“With thousands of people across the state still struggling to pay their heating bills from this past winter, and now with electricity bills this summer starting to rise, it is only responsible for state government to do what we can to reduce energy costs so state resources can be directed to helping people,” Governor Blagojevich said.  “We encourage Illinois families to take this lesson to heart and use good judgment with their thermostats this summer.”

The Winter Energy Conservation Plan affected nearly 2,000 state facilities, including office buildings, warehouses, garages and other facilities where most facilities lowered 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 often turned back their thermostats to 55 degrees. 

The Summer Energy Conservation Plan will affect the same nearly 2,000 facilities across the state. Thermostats at most facilities will be raised from 72 degrees to 74 – 78 degrees during occupied periods and to 80 degrees during unoccupied periods.  By raising the thermostat between July 10 and September 15, 2006, cost-saving estimates are $1.2 million.

The plan will not impact temperatures at in-patient health-care facilities, homeless shelters and other buildings housing vulnerable populations or where temperature-sensitive public safety and law enforcement operations are conducted.

“Illinois government has a responsibility to its taxpayers, and Gov. Blagojevich believes it’s only prudent that we raise the thermostats in state facilities this summer to help manage statewide energy costs,” said Paul Campbell, director of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services, the agency that manages owned and leased facilities on behalf of state agencies under the Governor.

UIC’s Energy Resource Center sampled approximately 35% of the natural gas consumption at state properties to project $4.8 million in savings through the heating season.  Altogether, natural gas consumption decreased by an estimated 2.2 million therms.


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