Tucked into an energy policy proposed by Maine's governor is one energy-saving idea used by the state of Utah and being experimented with this summer by several Massachusetts communities: the four-day workweek.
Advocates say extending the workday four days but shaving off a fifth makes significant savings in heating and cooling costs for buildings and commuting fuel use.
The idea, limited to non-emergency personnel in Utah, would be voluntary in Maine under the plan put forth yesterday by Governor John Baldacci. The $12.6 million plan, detailed in this AP article, also calls for new investments in weatherization, low-income heating assistance and public transportation.
Massachusetts has no immediate plans to follow suit on a four-day workweek but a energy task force will study it among many alternatives, the state's energy and environmental secretary, Ian Bowles, said in a Green Blog interview on July 29. Here's the full interview.
Communities such as Winchester, Sudbury, and Concord, N.H., have put some employees on four-day workweeks. Rex L. Facer, an assistant professor of public finance and management at Brigham Young University, told the Boston Globe recently that a sixth of US cities may have a four-day, 10-hour shift schedule. Some school districts in Minnesota, Kentucky, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah also have eliminated Friday classes and extended the other for weekdays.
Would a four-day workweek work for you? For your company? Have your say in our comments section below.
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Dara Olmsted is a local sustainability professional focusing on green living.