Long Weekends

State’s Four-day Work Week Saves Energy

Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. (R)

Utah has officially become the first state to experiment with reducing energy costs and commuter gasoline expense by switching 17,000 of 24,000 executive branch government employees to a 40-hour, four-day work week. Governor Jon Huntsman’s mandatory three-day weekend just may catch on.

Turning out the lights, heat and air conditioning on Fridays in a third of Utah’s government buildings will save the state an estimated $3 million a year, according to the governor’s office. Although total commuter fuel charges are still unknown, the Department of Environmental Quality estimates that during the yearlong experiment, employees in six buildings alone will save $300,000 at the pump.

In addition, “We feel like we can reduce the carbon dioxide [emissions] by around 3,000 metric tons” says Kim Hood, executive director of the Department of Administrative Services, which tenders another direct benefit by reducing local air pollution.

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