Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter issued an executive order this spring directing state agencies to assess energy consumption and identify measures that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). He charged the Department of Environmental Quality to coordinate efforts by all state agencies.
His order prescribes:
“…regardless of your opinion on climate change, reducing greenhouse gas emissions is good for everyone,” Otter said recently at a Sustainability and Climate Change summit sponsored by the University of Idaho. He wants to see Idaho develop an efficient, cost-effective, data-driven response to greenhouse gas reductions. Greenhouse gases are gases that trap heat in the atmosphere of which the most common source is CO2 which is emitted when fossil fuels (oil, natural gas and coal), trees etc. are burned.
Toward that end, DEQ created a State Agency Greenhouse Gas Working Group in August and ITD created a similar internal team in September and began developing a strategy of assessing the department’s energy consumption and identifying ways to reduce the contribution to gas emissions. Matt Moore is chair of ITD’s team that includes about a dozen members who represent a cross-section of divisions.
ITD has produced a preliminary report on its facilities and transportation fleet but wants to learn about the commuting patterns and work schedules of employees. An online survey of all state employees is planned later this fall.
The survey seeks to gather baseline data for Idaho greenhouse gas emissions associated with work related employee travel and employee habits during work (such as recycling). Once the data is collected it will be used in conjunction with ITD’s Fleet and Building GHG Emission Inventories to develop an action plan for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Paper versions of the survey will be available for employees who do not have computer access.
The survey should reveal important information about how employees commute to work, whether they use carpools, vanpools, public transportation or other alternative modes. Results could lead to greater emphases on telecommuting, teleconferencing, alternative work sites and flex schedules.
Patti Raino, a member of the ITD greenhouse gas team encourages employees to submit suggestions to reduce energy consumption and explain any successful or ongoing efforts.