In a state where many people enjoy the outdoors and nature their Governor John Huntsman has decided to make their state greener. Government offices will be open only 4 days a week starting in October. Over the past four year energy costs to heat and cool the government building went up 25%. The government is also worried about smog and greenhouse gases so reducing the number of days a week employees work will reduce their commuting.
From and environmental standpoint this is a great example for the rest of the country to learn from. According to the census bureau there were 2.2 million people living in Utah in 2000. It would likely be easier for the government to continue to meet the needs of their people being open 4 days a week. There is a wider implication as to how this will translate to larger groups.
Employees also had some issues with this development because they have to work longer days 4 days a week. Many employees also complained about the problem that they will be presented with in terms of the care of their children. Many worry that they will not be able spend much time with their children 4 days of the week including helping them with their homework.
Overall, as employees and citizens of Utah get used to the schedule it will show the world how we can change our work week to meet the needs of the environment and see what we as a world need to do to make it more feasible for the rest of us to do. We will have to keep an eye on Utah and see how this transition goes.
The state of Hawaii has become the first in North America to require solar water heater in newly constructed homes. Governor Linda Lingle, a Republican signed the bill this week, which prohibits issuing building permits for single-family homes that do not have solar water heaters starting in 2010. Exceptions will be made for houses in heavily forested areas.
Hawaii relys on imported fossil fuels for 90% of its supply. This bill was one of the ways the state is trying to be more green. Conventional water heaters are typically the largest electricity consumer in the average household, gobbling up nearly 40% of consumption. Builders and developers were against the bill, saying it would add too much to the cost of new home constructions.
It is great to see that states are working to make things right. They are giving tax breaks to citizens who are required to abide by the law (I do not know the stipulations of getting the credit but at least there is one). Part of the expense of building a new house should include a recognition that it needs to be built to protect the environment.
Hats off to these states paving the way for other states to make changes too!!