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Wal-Mart to Audit Energy Efficiency of State Capitols

WASHINGTON, DC, February 25, 2008 (ENS) – As part of their focus this year on clean energy, the nation’s governors Saturday announced a partnership between the National Governors Association and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. that is intended to reduce the overall energy consumption of state capitol complexes.

Under the Greening the Capitols [] partnership, a team of Wal-Mart energy experts will conduct a clean energy audit of up to 20 state capitol complexes during 2008 and 2009. They will identify energy efficiency improvements that could provide a return on investment within five years.

In addition, the Wal-Mart team will demonstrate the anticipated cost savings and greenhouse gas reductions each state could experience by implementing the recommended improvements in the state capitols, many of which are more than 100 years old.

In 2005, Wal-Mart announced its sustainability policy which the company says incldues, “Aggressively pursuing regulatory and policy changes that will create incentives for utilities to invest in energy efficiency, to use low or no greenhouse gas sources of electricity, and to reduce barriers to integrating these sources into the power grid.”

The Minnesota State Capitol
building in St. Paul was built
in 1905. (Photo credit unknown)

The company will work with states to survey their state capitol facilities and suggest energy efficiency improvements based on technologies Wal-Mart has deployed in thousands of its buildings around the world.

The audited areas will include lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, refrigeration, programmable thermostats, and building structure, insulation and windows.

There will be no up-front costs to the states for the audits. In addition to recommending efficiency improvements, Wal-Mart will provide estimates of the carbon dioxide emissions reductions that could result from increasing the energy efficiency of the state buildings.

The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices will help identify states for participation in the Greening the Capitols partnership and then will catalog the successes each participating state experiences.

The partnership with Wal-Mart was announced during the National Governors Association, NGA, winter meeting that wound up today in Washington, DC.

“From the discussions we’ve had these past three days, it’s clear that governors are leading the way to Americanize this country’s energy future,” said NGA Chair Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. Each incoming NGA chair chooses an issue to work with during his or her term of office – Pawlenty’s is the Securing a Clean Energy Future Initiative [].

“This Initiative is not just about improving the way we produce energy in this country,” Pawlenty said, “it’s about improving our national security, our economic well-being and our overall quality of life.”

All governors are asked to help make the United States a global leader in energy efficiency, clean energy technology, energy research and the use of alternative fuels.

The governors are receptive. In their 2007 State of the State Addresses, 45 out of the 50 governors discussed initiatives to develop alternative sources of energy or promote conservation.

“We’re on the verge of an energy revolution in this country,” said NGA Vice Chair Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell. “And it’s clear that charting our own energy future will require every available resource at America’s disposal, from clean coal and nuclear to biofuels and renewables.”

Today, the NGA officially released “Greener Fuels, Greener Vehicles: A State Resource Guide,” [] a new report from the Securing a Clean Energy Future Initiative.

The report provides an overview of the economic and environmental implications of an oil-dependent transportation sector and looks at state policy tools that can encourage greener transportation.

It describes the core barriers preventing wider consumption of alternative fuels and production of alternative vehicles, as well as examples of promising state policies designed to overcome these specific barriers.

Governor Pawlenty also shared with his colleagues the recently released Securing a Clean Energy Future Initiative publication, “A Call to Action,” a report declaring America’s current energy path unacceptable because of escalating economic risk and serious environmental consequences.

R. James Woolsey, venture partner with Vantage Pont and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, addressed the governors about the “critical need to develop alternatives to imported petroleum,” the prospects for current and near-term technologies to reduce America’s oil demand and how states can serve as catalysts to advancing these technologies in the marketplace.

John Doerr, partner with Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, articulated how the investment community views the market for clean energy technologies, identified some of the most promising clean energy technologies and offered suggestions on what role states should play in spurring clean energy innovation.

“We know there is no silver bullet to solve this crisis,” said Governor Rendell, “but when we add up all the steps states and individuals are taking across the country, we can begin to see the start of our energy revolution.”

The nation’s governors next convene for the National Governors Association Centennial Meeting July 11-14, in in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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