Effective July 1, 2005, Act 1770 (the Arkansas Energy and Natural Resources Conservation Act), encourages (but does not require) all state agencies, including institutions of higher education, to use Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Green Globes rating systems whenever possible and appropriate in conducting or funding a public building project.
Title 22 of the Arkansas Code includes Arkansas-specific provisions for LEED and Green Globes certification. These rating systems add to the state building energy code established in 2004 for New Building Construction. Under the Arkansas-specific provisions, those pursuing LEED certification receive additional credit for the use of composite wood and agri-fiber products, post-consumer recycled content, renewable bio-based materials, carbon-sequestering bio-based materials, and bio-based materials from other certified sources. Those using the Green Globes rating system receive additional credit for carbon-sequestering, bio-based materials and bio-based materials from certified sources.
The Sustainable Energy-Efficient Buildings Program, enacted April 2009 with the passage of HB 1663 (Act 1494), directs the Arkansas Energy Office to develop a plan for reducing energy use in all existing state-owned major facilities by 20 percent from 2008 levels by 2014 and 30 percent by 2017. Major facilities are defined as construction projects larger than 20,000 gross square feet of occupied or conditioned space. Major renovations are defined as projects for major facilities, where the renovations cost over 50% of the insured value. For new construction and major renovations, the criteria specify that public buildings must be certified to be at least 10% more efficient than ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007, as it existed on January 1, 2009. The Arkansas Energy Office will develop a program to manage energy, water, and other public agency utility uses to reduce total energy consumption as long as the savings can be justified by a life cycle cost analysis. The Arkansas Energy Office will update this program annually. HB 1663 (Act 1494) also directed the Arkansas Energy Office to complete an energy audit of every public facility within five years.
In May 2009, Governor Mike Beebe issued Executive Order 09-07, directing all executive-branch agencies to submit strategic energy plans describing energy-savings measures that can be implemented by the agencies. The plans should include provisions for collecting and monitoring energy use data. The agencies submitted these plans by October 31, 2009, as well as the energy use information for all their facilities by April 1, 2010. Other state agencies are encouraged to develop strategic energy plans, as well.