Posts Tagged ‘global warming’

Kansans for energy independence

October 19, 2010

When it rains it pours…more stories about people interested in saving energy.  The NYTimes reports on folks in the heartland interested in energy efficiency and renewable energy–even though they’re climate change skeptics.  Why?  Because EE/RE make sense! 

“It is in our DNA to leave a place better than we found it”


“There is no sense in our dependency on foreign oil”

As Amory Lovins says, it doesn’t matter whether you believe in global warming or not–most of the things we would do to fight global warming we ought to be doing energy–for economic, security, independence, and environmental reasons.  Just plain smart.

Earth Hour 2010

March 26, 2010

In roughly 24 hours, Earth Hour 2010 will begin, and people across the globe will shut off their lights for one hour in order to make a statement.  However you feel about global warming, everyone can agree that conserving resources, and turning off lights when we don’t need them, is good for our society and our world.
Tomorrow night, the centers and capitals of over 4,000 towns and cities will go dark in order to remind us of the importance of conservation in our daily lives. From Lima to Las Vegas, from the Empire State Building to the Eiffel Tower, cities large and small across the globe will be declaring their dedication to protecting the environment we inhabit.  
I support Earth Hour 2010 because reducing energy waste is a great idea—and Earth Hour helps call attention to it. It’s easy in the modern world to forget about where energy comes from when you can illuminate your house with the flick of a finger, but each minute that a light bulb is burning unnecessarily is a minute that fuel is being wasted.  And in the U.S. more than 50% of our electricity comes from dirty coal.  By cutting down on our energy waste, we will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, improve our air quality, and decrease the load that energy companies are facing on a daily basis, all while helping homeowners save money on their energy bills. Who isn’t in favor of that?
Last year over 1 billion people participated in Earth Hour 2009, check out this video to see some of the cities that joined in:

If you want to join us in supporting Earth Hour 2010, turn off your lights today, Saturday, March 27th, at 8:30 PM EDT.  Remember, though, the value here is educational and inspiration.  To really get lasting energy savings, and have a long-term impact, you need to make bigger changes with bigger impacts in your home, the type of energy-efficiency improvements we discuss here at the time.

DOE Secretary Chu on The Daily Show

July 23, 2009

Looking much less stiff than others in the Cabinet, U.S. DOE Secretary Steven Chu appears as a guest on The Daily Show on Tuesday talking about energy policy and cap and trade.

Steven Chu on The Daily Show

A national energy efficiency program — at last, legislation is pending!

March 18, 2009


Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Mike Rogers unveil REEP program

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Mike Rogers unveil REEP program

On Monday I had the privilege of joining Vermont’s only Congressman, Peter Welch, in unveiling his proposal of a National Energy Efficiency Program that will retrofit millions of American homes and buildings. The goal of the legislation is to deliver a 20% increase in energy efficiency, and he plans to introduce the bill later this week.

Obviously I’m a huge fan of this legislation, more on that in a bit, but here’s how Rep. Welch’s press release describes the bill:

 “The Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) program would fund state and municipal investments of up to half the cost of retrofitting the nation’s existing homes and buildings, which account for 10 percent of global carbon emissions. Welch’s bill would direct the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency to develop guidelines and manage financing for the national energy efficiency program. Homeowners and businesses could qualify for direct cash incentives, interest rate subsidies and credit support based on the percentage increase in efficiency they achieve.

Funding of the program would go to the states through the existing State Energy Program formula.”

 This would bring the rest of the company up to the type of programs that already exist—and that we already work in—in New York and New Jersey.

It’s high time for this legislation and I thank Congressman Welch for what he’s doing—I believe this is one of the most important issues we face.  Now you’ve heard this referred to as a climate change bill.  And it is.  With the news out of Copenhagen this week, that climate change is real, it’s worse than we thought, and it’s happening faster than we thought, this is important. 

 But Congressman Welch is doing is much more than that.  Forget about climate change for a moment. What Rep. Welch is doing with this bill is actually going to be an enormous boost for the U.S. economy.  It’s going to increase our energy security and make us less dependent on foreign oil.  It’s going to help keep our money at home, in our local communities.  Homeowners can save real money by reducing their utility costs.  This bill will help homeowners insulate themselves against price increases and volatility in the energy markets, and keep more of their monthly income for things putting like food on the table and saving for college rather that burning money and sending it out the chimney.

 And, this bill will create jobs in local communities.  For example, at GreenHomes, we know that for every dozen homes we improve, we create a job at our company.  The bill that Congressman Welch is introducing can help us, and companies like us, fix thousands of homes a year in even a small state like Vermont.  In larger states, the job creation effect is a magnitude of order larger.

 It’s also important to note that these are high-quality jobs that can’t be outsourced overseas. Unlike many contracting industry jobs, these are year-round positions.  At GreenHomes, we offer comprehensive benefits, including medical, dental, 401K, generous paid holidays and vacation.

 Lastly, there’s the multiplier effect.  As these companies invest and grow, we’ll see double the number of jobs rippling through our communities as they generate commerce with local: 

  • Vehicles dealers
  • Auto mechanics
  • Material manufacturers and suppliers
  • Marketing and advertising – newspaper, cable, network, radio, etc.
  • Uniform suppliers
  • Restaurants
  • Convenience stores – as their people grab their coffee and snacks in the morning
  • Office material stores (e.g., Staples and smaller businesses.)
  • And on and on and on.

I’m excited about this bill, and I’ll close with the most direct evidence I have of what it can mean for everyday homeowners: I live in a 90-year old house in Vermont that costs us less than $400 a year to heat—that’s $400 a year—less than some people paid last month.

[see update, House Passes Historic Climate and Energy Bill, June 26, 2009]


Amory Lovins Makes Sense!

March 9, 2009

Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, the man who 30 years ago inspired me to move into energy-efficiency, makes just as much sense today.  And his arguments seem more powerful and urgent than ever.  Check out this brief interview in the WSJ.  [Thanks to Larry Zarker of BPI for pointing it out!]


The true cost of energy

February 9, 2009

In Environmental Capital, the WSJ blog, Keith Johnson writes today about the true cost of electricity.  With external costs hidden, dirty coal, for example, seems like a better deal than solar or PV or even the best deal of them all—efficiency.  We pretend pollution isn’t there, that coal ash spills don’t happen, the miners don’t get hurt, and that climate change isn’t happening.  But as the financial meltdown of the past several months shows, the hidden cost doesn’t stay hidden forever, and when they expose themselves, we get bitten.  It would be wiser indeed, for us to recognize the energy future right now and start doing something about it today.  And energy-efficiency is the place to start.


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