An order to cut Delaware waste

    Delaware looks to lead by example. An ambitious executive order would simultaneously reduce operating expenses and create a more efficient government.

    Gov. Jack Markell signed an executive order Wednesday designed to save Delaware money by reducing waste and becoming more energy efficient.

    The “leading by example” order, as Markell calls it, requires the state to use less energy, use cleaner energy, use fewer raw materials and minimize waste.

    “This executive order really represents a win-win,” Markell said. “It’s a win for our state’s budget. It’s a win for our environment.”

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    The order sets specific targets. For example, it calls for a reduction in state energy usage, from fiscal year 2008 levels, of at least 10 percent by the end of fiscal year 2011, 20 percent by the end of 2013 and 30 percent by 2015.

    Delaware spent $35 million last year on electricity, heat and air conditioning. A 10 percent reduction would save $3.5 million annually.

    “The cheapest energy of all is the energy that we don’t use,” Markell said. “But we also recognize that the energy that we do use needs to be cleaner.”

    To that end, the executive order calls for Delaware to increase use of renewable energy by 30 percent by the end of 2013.

    Other ambitious goals include reducing the amount of state waste that ends up in landfills by 75 percent and cutting fuel consumption of state vehicles by 25 percent, both by the end of fiscal year 2012.

    Officials say the latter would improve air quality and save the state over $1 million per year.

    “We have over 61 million miles driven annually in state government and over 5.8 million gallons of fuel used annually at a cost of $13.2 million,” said Office of Management and Budget Director Ann Visalli. “Any reductions we have in this area is going to have a real significant fiscal impact.”

    The governor hopes the executive order acts as a “road map” that households, private industry and other states can follow.

    “It’s bold but we believe it’s achievable,” Markell said.

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