MIAMI - Florida Governor Charlie Crist has signed three executive orders committing the state to increasing energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Among the initiatives in the executive orders, the Florida Department of Community Affairs is directed to convene the Florida Building Commission in order to set new building standards that increase the energy performance of new buildings by 15 percent by 2009. The department is also directed to set new standards that mandate a 15 percent increase in the efficiency of certain consumer products by 2009.

Targets are set for reducing the state's overall emissions to 2000 levels by 2017, to 1990 levels by 2025, and to 20 percent of 1990 levels by 2050. The order directs the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to develop rules that set those same milestones for the state's electric utilities; to adopt California's greenhouse gas standards for motor vehicles; and to establish an idle reduction standard for diesel engines.

The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) is asked to initiate rulemaking that would require utilities to draw on renewable energy for 20 percent of their electricity; to adopt international standards for connecting renewable energy systems to the grid; and to allow net metering for renewable energy systems up to 1 MW in capacity. However, the PSC is not bound by the governor's executive orders.

Tougher near-term greenhouse gas emissions goals are set for state agencies, namely a 10 percent reduction from today's levels by 2012, a 25 percent reduction by 2017, and a 40 percent reduction by 2025. To meet those goals, the order calls for all state agencies to inventory their energy-related greenhouse gas emissions and directs the Department of Management Services to set Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building standards for the state's new and existing state-owned buildings. State agencies are also precluded from renting office space that doesn't meet Energy Star standards. Greenhouse gas standards are also applied to the state's procurement processes and the state's vehicle fleets.

In addition, a new Action Team on Energy and Climate Change will develop a comprehensive Energy and Climate Change Action Plan.

Publication date: 07/23/2007