In an exciting collaboration announced just in time for Earth Day, the General Services Department is planning a $32 million project to improve the energy efficiency of state buildings in Santa Fe (“N.M. wants to make buildings energy efficient,” April 18). The project will lead by example in many ways, but an especially crucial component is the inclusion of the state government’s first battery storage for solar power.
The ability to store solar power goes a long way toward expanding this renewable energy source. Equipping our state government buildings with this technology reinforces our commitment to cutting energy costs and embracing new ideas.
This administration is going all-in on renewable energy. The executive order signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham requires state agencies to curb carbon footprints, and this is a great first step to achieving that goal. In addition to equipping buildings with solar power, the General Services Department project calls for lighting upgrades, improved heating and air conditioning systems, and other energy-efficiency work on 29 buildings. A separate initiative by the department includes buying the first electric vehicles for the government motor pool and installing charging stations in Santa Fe.
The energy-efficiency upgrades won’t just reduce our carbon footprint; they’ll also cut down our bills. Our contractor on the project guarantees that New Mexico will see a savings of $1.1 million a year.
This project also highlights the need for state agencies to work together. The General Services Department and the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department worked together to approve contracts and establish just how much savings the state can expect from this renewable energy expansion. Moving forward, lots of state departments will benefit from having these energy efficiency upgrades installed in their buildings.
It’s an exciting time, and our departments hope this inspires other states to also lead by example when it comes to energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Ken Ortiz is the General Services Department secretary. Sarah Cottrell Propst is the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department secretary.