Climate Change and Clean Energy

The NC Climate Change Interagency Council and the role DPS plays to increase efficiency in state operations

On October 29, 2018, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 80, which creates ambitious new statewide goals for North Carolina to reduce emissions and energy consumption by the year 2025. The Executive Order also established the North Carolina Climate Change Interagency Council, allowing the Governor’s cabinet agencies to work together to toward these goals.

DPS employs more than 37,000 and manages more than 19 million square feet of property, more than 3,500 buildings and a fleet of approximately 5,400 vehicles. Its leased vehicles account for approximately two-thirds of the Department of Administration’s motor fleet. As the largest cabinet-level department by so many measures, DPS’ sizable footprint means it has the opportunity to make significant changes with even small incremental improvements, once they are scaled to the Department’s statewide operations. 

Along with its fellow cabinet departments, DPS is working hard to explore action plans and goals that will streamline and increase efficiency in our operations, saving tax dollars and resources while ensuring safety remains our top priority. DPS is a committed partner in the Climate Change Interagency Council, under the leadership of the Department of Environmental Quality. In September 2019, DPS will submit an Agency Utility Report with goals and initiatives detailing the Department’s efforts to support Executive Order 80. Currently, DPS is taking the following actions or continuing actions already in progress:

  • DPS has assembled a working group of representatives from its many and varied operations to collaborate on ways to increase efficiency and reduce usage. The group represents all sections managing a significant quantity of property or vehicles.
  • Many of DPS’ vehicle needs entail specific requirements such as pursuit capabilities for law enforcement. However, the department is committed to “right-sizing” vehicle purchases and leases to match, and not exceed, the emission class and necessary costs of the vehicle need. The future may offer opportunities to, where appropriate, utilize or pilot new technology in vehicle usage.
  • Within its Central Engineering section of Adult Correction, the Department employs its own Energy Manager to conduct a detailed compilation and analysis of the Department’s $54 million statewide utility bill. Progress is underway to build tools to help identify the biggest targets to make impacts, track usage between properties and identify trends. 
  • Prisons continue to transition light fixtures to LEDs, which are up to 80% more efficient than the previous lighting and — most importantly — increases safety conditions after dark with brighter light.

The increasing incidence of extreme weather events impacts the safety of our entire state. DPS employees in Emergency Management, law enforcement and the NC National Guard serve on the front lines when natural disasters strike, and the Department stands in support of all efforts that could lessen the frequency or severity of these events that threaten the safety of our citizens and property.