Blog to Save Energy

Even in an election year, improving federal energy efficiency is an issue that politicians from both sides of the aisle can embrace. Identical bipartisan resolutions were introduced today in the House and Senate urging a change in the scoring practice used by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to evaluate energy efficiency performance contracts. These resolutions, introduced by Alliance Honorary Vice-Chair Chris Coons (D-DE) and Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) in the Senate and by Alliance Honorary Vice-Chair Peter Welch (D-VT) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) in the House, have 49 total sponsors including Alliance Honorary Vice-Chairs McKinley (R-WV), Kinzinger (R-IL), Shaheen (D-NH), Portman (R-OH), Collins (R-ME), Wyden (D-OR) and Markey (D-MA).
As the school year kicks off, so does the CCN.
Get your meters ready! Registration opens today for Campus Conservation Nationals 2015 (CCN) hosted by the Alliance to Save Energy, Lucid Design Group, National Wildlife Federation and The Center for Green Schools at the USGBC. In its fifth year, CCN empowers colleges across the country to reduce their water and energy use through education, feedback and programming. All of this happens during a three-week competition window each spring that after months of planning, is over in the blink of an eye. The nationwide savings are impressive — CCN 2014 saw the equivalent of 201 homes removed from the grid for a year and stopped 1.8 million 1L bottles of water from running down the drain. To top it off, the student and staff enthusiasm created by the competition is undeniably inspiring. However, when the excitement dies down, does that mean water and energy usage return to normal as well? It’s perfectly reasonable to question the sustainability of a short-term sustainability program like CCN.
Installing efficient light bulbs is an incredibly cost-effective way to save energy.

Installing energy efficient light bulbs is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to save energy.

Recognizing the huge potential for energy savings that is possible through simple light bulb upgrades, the U.S. Congress adopted energy efficiency standards for everyday light bulbs and established a timeline for a progressive phase-out of inefficient bulbs. President Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) into law. The standards do not ban any specific light bulb type, but stipulate that light bulbs must use at least 25% less energy.

Saving water and energy are two issues that are greatly interconnected.
California is facing one of the most severe droughts ever recorded. For the last three years, the state has been enduring water shortages, destructive wildfires, crop losses and state restrictions on water use. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, nearly 82 percent of the state is in extreme or exceptional drought. The drought has implications far beyond California’s borders — the Golden State produces 70 percent of the nation’s top fruits, nuts and vegetables. Soon, the continued loss in agriculture due to the drought could result in increased food prices across the nation. It is estimated that the drought will inflict a total of $2.2 billion in losses for the agricultural industry.
Congress returns this week from August recess with a number of items on the docket and only a few legislative weeks remaining before both Chambers leave town again for the campaign trail. Work on a Continuing Resolution (CR), funding the government through at least the midterm elections will likely dominate the two-week September session, as lawmakers look to avoid another government shutdown. While many believe that Democrats and Republicans will be able to get through a “clean” CR, without any controversial policy riders, that does not preclude more partisan brinkmanship next year if control of the Senate changes hands in November. Along with hopefully passing a CR to keep the government running, Congress will look to find a way to prevent the Export-Import Bank from closing at the end of the month, and possibly push through a bill barring new taxes on Internet access. Other big ticket items such as tax extenders, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, known as the Shaheen-Portman bill, all loom on the horizon as well.
Utilities are facing new challenges as demand for electricity decreases.
In the United States, electric utility companies are primarily responsible for the generation and distribution of electricity. Electric utilities have traditionally depended on large, centralized power plants, usually burning fossil fuel, to produce electricity. Under the traditional utility business model utilities depend on increasing energy sales to earn a profit. However, the traditional utility model is facing challenges. In much of the United States, electricity sales have stagnated and even decreased, even as electrical devices have proliferated in our homes, schools and work places. Nationally, electric retail sales increased an average of over 2% from 1982 to 2007, but since then sales have stagnated with a slight average annual decrease of 0.2%.
Hospitals can save money through increased energy efficiency.
Most of us can agree that money invested in hospitals is money well spent, and most would also agree that healthcare facilities should take advantage of any opportunities to cut down on operational costs without sacrificing patient care. That very opportunity exists when it comes to energy use.
High speed rail will help increase the energy efficiency of American transportation.
In a recent post, we discussed exciting new developments in EV technology, of which there are seemingly more every week. High speed rail is another transportation sector being developed in cities across the country. Although building rail infrastructure — particularly of the high speed variety — can be time intensive, establishing high-speed train routes in the U.S. could increase the energy efficiency of the transportation sector, much like electric vehicles.
Breweries are adopting new techniques to increase the energy efficiency of the brewing process.

The plow, the wheel, irrigation and other inventions were a result of the agricultural revolution in 9000 BC. What spurred such innovations? The somewhat unexpected answer is... beer. The demand for barley (and ultimately America’s favorite alcoholic beverage) was the inspiration for many advanced technologies.

Meanwhile, in modern day, we are in the midst of a revolution to save energy. Fortunately, the American brewing industry has started to embrace energy saving practices in production, helping the bottom line while supporting energy efficiency.

Utilities are ramping up energy efficiency efforts.
Four utility associates of the Alliance to Save Energy — San Diego Gas & Electric, and Alliance founder-level members PG&E, Southern California Edison (Edison International) and National Grid — were ranked in the Top 10 for both cumulative and incremental annual energy efficiency savings in a recent report by Ceres and Clean Edge. We are proud to name these utilities among the elite group of our associates, and we applaud them for taking leadership roles in the utility sector and we look forward to continuing our work with them to further the adoption of energy efficiency measures.

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