City of Phoenix Arizona City Hall - If the lights were off in one building from 6pm - 6am, and all weekend, Maricopa County could save $222,000.
Amid financial crisis, the government in Arizona could save hundreds of thousands of dollars if officials turned off building lights at night. But many of the lights just burn all night long.
In a recent address to the nation, President Barack Obama said, “Our government now pays the highest energy bills in the world.”
How high? The November electricity bill for Phoenix City Hall (and two surrounding buildings) totaled almost $122,000.
The state, the county and the city all face massive shortfalls, yet lights are being left on overnight.
We checked two dozen government buildings, at each hour throughout the night, for a week-long period.
There were signs of some savings. We saw the lights at the Sandra Day O’Connor Federal Courthouse in Phoenix go off at 10 p.m.
For all other building that were lit less than 50-percent of the night, we considered them off too.
But the ABC15 Investigators found the lights on consistently at 15 buildings, including the Arizona Attorney General's Office, the Maricopa County Central Courthouse, the Arizona Capitol Museum, the Arizona State Land Department building and the Arizona Department of Health Services building.
Doctor George Basile with ASU's School of Sustainability said he isn’t sure why the lights are on.
“Let's not make this rocket science," he said. "When you don't need lights on then turn them off. Put in a better bulb, start thinking about it.”
Cleaning crews likely aren't to blame here. The lights were on all night at the Arizona Department of Education, even though the cleaning crew left by 9 p.m.
At the Calvin C. Goode Municipal Building, we found the same thing. At 1:30 a.m., we watched as the cleaning crew left, yet the building was still fully lit.
State records show their cleaning is done by 1 a.m., the county finishes up cleaning by 1:30 a.m. and the city cleaning is done at 2 a.m.
So how much money could be saved with the flick of a switch?
We used the Maricopa County Central Courthouse as an example. The county told us the square footage and the type of bulbs they use.
Then, ASU's energy experts did the math.
If the lights were off from 6 p.m. - 6 a.m., and all weekend, the county could save about $18,500 per month.
Multiply that by 12 months, and you get $222,000 for one building.
Include all 15 buildings, and the savings is substantial.
Last month, then Governor Janet Napolitano asked that lights be turned off overnight in state buildings.
Following her request, we went back to check and found many buildings still lit up including the Arizona Department of Revenue, the very department collecting money for state needs.
But our investigation may now be getting some results.
Late last week, a spokesperson for the state said, "The new administration issued a directive... night maintenance will turn off lights when possible. Thanks for pointing it out.”
The City of Phoenix also said it has an Energy Management Program and they have reduced usage recently.
A spokesperson for Maricopa County said they share ABC15's concerns and contracted with APS for an audit of all facilities.
1/ Democrat Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, another do nothing politician is complaining his city doesn't have money but he and city council sure know how to spend it. Like most of the Mayors in America, both Democrat and Republican, they have their hand out and are looking for President Obama to bail them out of their financial crisis. That means we the people, we the taxpayers, but who is going to pay for this later down the road... We The People, We the Taxpayers, that's who!
2/ I am sure other cities have their share of debt and irresponsible politicians as well.
3/ The more of this I see, the closer I get to running for office.