BLOG TO SAVE ENERGY

A look at House and Senate Appropriations budgets.
In June, both the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations developed and released their own recommendations for the FY2015 federal budget. Among other focus areas, the Energy and Water Development Subcommittees in both chambers have the authority to determine the budget for the Department of Energy (DOE), which includes the majority of the provisions relating to energy efficiency through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).
Celebrate National Energy Awareness Month during October!
October means football season, pumpkin lattes, Halloween costumes and many other fun seasonal changes. While we’re excited for all things autumn, here at the Alliance we're welcoming this new month for another reason. On September 1991, President George Bush declared October as National Energy Awareness Month, encouraging government and organizations to raise awareness of the importance of sustainably managing the nation’s energy resources.
New York City is a leader in energy efficiency policy.
We’re stopping in New York City on Monday for our latest Energy 2030 On the Road event! We’ll be garnering more endorsements to double our nation’s energy productivity, and there will undoubtedly be great dialogues with local stakeholders about maximizing the potential of reaching our goal. We’ll be live tweeting conversations from the event, but while we plan for what’s ahead, we also want to acknowledge what the City has already accomplished for a more efficient future.
New standards mean greater energy efficiency for your refrigerator.
In 2011, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued standards for home refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers and freezers to increase the energy efficiency of these commonly-used appliances. The standards reflect several recommendations made to the Department of Energy from states, home appliances manufacturers, consumer groups and efficiency proponents — including the Alliance and several of our Associates.
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%.

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