Executive Order 15-17

State Agencies to Lead by Example in Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy

WHEREAS, the transition to a cleaner, low-carbon energy economy and the importance of addressing climate change present Rhode Island with unprecedented challenges, as well as opportunities to strengthen the State's economic competitiveness, create thousands of well-paying jobs, foster new clean energy industry opportunities, improve public health, protect the environment, and enhance quality of life;

WHEREAS, the best available science indicates we must strive to limit warming to no more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and that industrialized nations must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 in order to reach this goal;

WHEREAS, the Resilient Rhode Island Act sets targets for reducing greenhouse emissions to 45 percent below 1990 levels by 2035 and to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050;

WHEREAS, the Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council ("EC4") has begun the critical work of assessing strategies, programs, and actions to meet the goals of the Resilient Rhode Island Act;

WHEREAS, setting clean energy targets and developing clean energy practices will help the State transition to a clean energy economy;

WHEREAS, the State's burgeoning clean energy industries and workforce present a significant economic development opportunity to grow skilled jobs and attract new businesses and investments;

WHEREAS, State government has the responsibility to lead by example and provide a model for municipalities, businesses, organizations, and citizens as it works to move Rhode Island toward a more secure, cost-effective, and sustainable energy future;

WHEREAS, the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank is creating new opportunities to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at public buildings by leveraging private capital through the Efficient Buildings Fund;

WHEREAS, reducing energy use and shifting consumption to renewable energy has the potential to stabilize long-term energy costs, mitigate energy price volatility, and reduce budget uncertainty; and

WHEREAS, the State is one of the largest energy consumers in Rhode Island, with energy expenses of nearly $35 million in fiscal year 2014.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GINA M. RAIMONDO, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, do hereby order and direct the following:

  1. There is hereby established a Lead by Example program within the Office of Energy Resources ("OER"), to oversee and coordinate efforts at State agencies to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. State agencies shall seek to reduce the use of natural resources at State facilities, including a reduction in energy consumption derived from fossil fuels and emissions associated with such consumption.
  3. The State shall procure, subject to funding opportunities and constraints, 100% of State government electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2025. To accomplish this goal, OER shall identify opportunities to increase the use of no-carbon and low-carbon energy resources by methods such as supporting the installation of renewable energy systems and leveraging competitive market procurement.
  4. State agencies shall achieve, subject to funding opportunities and constraints, an overall collective reduction in energy consumption of at least 10 percent below fiscal year 2014 levels by the end of fiscal year 2019. In order to ensure steady progress toward and timely achievement of this goal, OER shall establish annual interim goals and work in partnership with National Grid, the administrator of State ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs, to develop strategic energy plans to meet short- and long-term goals.
  5. OER shall post State energy usage publicly, which shall include energy use for each State agency and progress in reducing energy usage below the fiscal year 2014 baseline.
  6. The Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance ("DCAMM"), within the Department of Administration, in coordination with OER, shall develop strategies for reducing fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions from the State fleet, with the goal of ensuring that a minimum of 25 percent of new light-duty state fleet purchases and leases will be zero-emissions vehicles by 2025.
  7. DCAMM shall coordinate with OER, the Energy Efficiency and Resource Management Council, the Distributed Generation Standard Contracts Board, and the Green Building Advisory Committee to achieve a high standard of green building operations and maintenance at all state facilities such as may be accomplished through the International Green Construction Code, U.S. Green Building Council's LEED certification, or an equivalent high performance green building standard.
  8. OER shall coordinate with the Energy Efficiency and Resource Management Council, National Grid, and the Green Building Advisory Committee to establish a voluntary aspirational or stretch building code based on the International Green Construction Code or equivalent by 2017. The stretch building code shall be publicly available for use in all State construction and renovation projects as well as those in the private sector.
  9. State agencies shall consider full life-cycle costs and savings in planning and implementing projects when making cost-effectiveness determinations about investments in capital assets and services, including in cases where higher up-front costs may result in significantly lower energy, operation and maintenance costs, or longer life for the project.
  10. State agencies shall work with OER and DCAMM to improve energy efficiency and achieve the goals of the Lead by Example program. OER shall provide State agencies with the technical assistance necessary to implement State policy and the directives described herein.
  11. In achieving energy reduction goals, agencies shall consider other policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions including, but not limited to:
    1. Installing renewable energy sources on State properties;
    2. Replacing inefficient lighting systems with more efficient lighting options, such as compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and others;
    3. Purchasing energy-efficient appliances, such as ENERGY STAR products;
    4. Installing additional electric vehicle charging stations at State properties;
    5. Committing to energy targets for new construction; and
    6. Reducing employees' vehicle miles traveled commuting to work, as outlined in R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-6-21.1, by taking steps to encourage employees to commute by foot, bike, public transit, or carpool.
  12. OER shall monitor compliance and progress toward the targets established herein. OER shall issue a report evaluating the State's progress towards these goals on or about October 1, 2016 and annually thereafter.

This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.

So Ordered.

Gina M. Raimondo