Back in June, Governor Tim Kaine challenged his state agencies to reduce their environmental impact. Gordon Hickey is the governor's press secretary.
"The idea was to try to reduce the amount of energy used by state agencies - we save energy but we also save money"
The governor harnessed state workers' desire to be environmentally friendly, but also deeper need: employees of the winning agencies would get 8 hours of paid leave.
37 state agencies took the governor up on his offer. The winner was the Department of Environmental Quality, the runner up was the Department of Corrections
"They had high rates of participation in electronic meetings, car pooling, alternative commuting"
Together, the state estimates that carpooling and teleconferencing helped avoid 47,000 person-to-person meetings and 3.5 million miles of driving - and reimbursable gas miles the state would have to pay.
Hickey says he thinks attitudes are changing too
"I work on the state capitol complex and i see quite a number of people walking to and from and riding bikes"
He thinks the agencies' new green habits will continue.