Iowa Governor Orders State Agencies to Improve Energy Efficiency; Mandates Hybrids, Alt- and Biofuels
Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack issued a wide-ranging executive order (#41) Friday directing state agencies to improve upon their current practices of conserving energy. Among the directives stipulated in the order:
To reduce energy consumption in all conditioned facilities owned by the State by an average of 15% by 2010, relative to a 2000 baseline. Financial savings are to be applied to re-invest in infrastructure.
Where calculations can be made, to purchase the lowest life-cycle cost equipment. All agencies responsible for new construction or renovation of a public facility are to implement the recommendations of a life cycle cost analysis.
To ensure that on average at least 10% of electric consumption for all buildings where the state directly pays the bills comes from an alternate energy production facility (either self-generated or through their utility’s green power purchase programs
To ensure that 100% of light-duty, non-law enforcement vehicles procured by 2010 are alternative fuel vehicles or hybrids (when an equivalent alt fuel or hybrid model is available). Agencies must also ensure that their flex fuel vehicles operate on E85 whenever E85 (85% ethanol) fueling is available.
To ensure that all bulk diesel purchase is at least ASTM D6751 B5 biodiesel (5% biodiesel) by 2007, B10 by 2008, and B20 by 2010. All agencies are to ensure that diesel vehicles operate on biodiesel whenever the blends are available.
Iowa is potentially a strong producer of renewable energy and biofuels. The state currently has wind energy capacity of 636 MW and potentially could produce nine times in 2003 electrical consumption from wind power. It also has the capacity to produce more than 900 million gallons of ethanol and 20 million gallons of biodiesel per year.
In an instance of policy irony, the Governor just three days earlier had approved an increase in the speed limit on Iowa highways to 70 mph.
The original adjustment to 55 mph occurred three decades ago in response to the oil crisis of the time (and not just in the US—other countries, such as the UK, ratcheted down their speed limits to 55 mph or equivalent).
Studies have estimated that on the highway, some 50% percent of the energy required to keep rolling is aimed at overcoming aerodynamic drag. As speed increases, the aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance increase. Cut the speed, conserve fuel.
Congress repealed the national 55 mph limit in 1995, allowing states to set their own policies.
In 2001, the Iowa Department of Transportation strongly recommended against an increase in speed limit, based on fuel consumption and safety arguments after commissioning a report by the Iowa Safety Management System. (Governor Vilsack endorsed the conclusions of the report at the time. “This latest report is further proof that higher speed limits threaten the safety of Iowa citizens.”)
Although every vehicle has different aerodynamic and rolling resistance characteristics, the “rules of thumb” related to fuel consumption and speed highlighted in the Iowa report are:
An increase in passenger car speed from 65 mph to 70 mph typically results in a 10% decrease in fuel economy. The 10% decrease is not a linear relationship—there is an increasingly greater increase in fuel consumption as speed increases.
SUVs, as a class, experience approximately a 20% decrease in fuel economy in that increase from 65 mph to 70 mph.