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Thursday, September 23, 2010 - 11:56am

Amendment Targets Energy Savings

A constitutional amendment to help the state save in utility costs will be on the November ballot.

Amendment Four would make it easier for the state to upgrade its buildings so they can be more water and energy efficient.

Right now the state is barred from entering in multi-year contracts with companies. The state constitution was written that way in order to prevent the state from incurring debt. Jason Rooks is heading up a campaign to make an exception to the rule when it comes to utility improvements.

"The state can not upgrade state buildings unless they pay for those savings upfront. Whereas in most situations in the private sector the building owner can finance upgrades and pay for it through the savings from the energy or water conservation," says Rooks.

Rooks says Amendment 4 would lift the restriction solely for energy-efficient and water conservation projects that guarantee savings.

The state currently spends more than $200 million every year for utilities. Rooks says upgrades could cut that cost by a third.