Blog to Save Energy | Alliance to Save Energy


2013 sign post
As we reflect on the accomplishments of our personal lives over the last year, let’s also revisit energy efficiency’s year, which, by the way, was pretty busy.

Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Rob Portman are still working hard to bring the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act back to the Senate.

In the last days before the Senate broke for the holiday recess, the bill’s two sponsors took to the Senate floor to highlight the benefits of the legislation. Senator Portman emphasized, “It makes environmental sense, makes good energy sense, makes good economic sense. It makes sense. It will move this economy forward.” Senator Shaheen reiterated the bill’s benefits, telling the floor, “This is a win for job creation, it is a win for the environment, it is a win for national security, and it is a win for saving costs."

Energy efficiency tax form

On December 18, the Alliance to Save Energy and 30 other organizations sent a letter to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee urging Congress to extend critical energy efficiency tax incentives that are currently set to expire on December 31, 2013.

Energy efficiency tax credits are a key policy for helping to achieve the Alliance’s goal of doubling U.S. energy productivity by 2030. Efficiency upgrades have proved to be an effective means to help consumers overcome the upfront costs associated with otherwise cost-effective efficiency improvements. Until Congress undertakes comprehensive tax code reform, extending these credits will ensure that we do more with less (energy) to the betterment of our economy, national security and environment.

Santa hat and stocking decoration, counting down to Christmas
No matter what traditions you have or what you choose to celebrate this time of year, we’ve come up with a few tips, gift ideas, and facts that will remind you of all the possibilities energy efficiency can offer this holiday season.
Holiday Christmas gift guide.
Stop your friends and loved ones from being energy Grinches this year. Before you run out and just buy all the latest gadgets, give the gift that will keep on giving (energy savings!) with these 11 sure to be a hit energy-efficient holiday gift ideas.
President Barack Obama speaking at a White House function.
A big holiday present came early this year for EE advocates, thanks to President Obama – our resident “Energy Efficiency Champion in Chief” -- and his team! Importantly, the actions and partnerships announced by the Administration are organized around the goal of doubling energy productivity that is articulated in the Alliance’s Energy 2030 recommendations.
Engineer outside looking up at emissions from power plant.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is about to put the proverbial pen to paper as it begins writing proposed “emissions guidelines” for states to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.

As discussed in my previous posts Energy Efficiency, Systems Approach Needed to Achieve CO2 Goals and Energy Efficiency: Role in Prospective Power Plant CO2 Rules?, this potentially is a very big deal for energy efficiency as it could play a significant role in achieving cost-effective emissions reductions. This regulatory process is also a key component of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, where the president reiterated a goal of doubling U.S. energy productivity by 2030 as had been recommended in Energy 2030.

Power plant smoke stacks using combined heat and power (CHP).

Increasingly frequent—and extreme—weather events in the last few years have reminded us about the limits of our aging grid. But they have also helped us identify the energy technologies that will be most critical in the future. One of those key growing technologies is combined heat and power (CHP).

During Hurricane Sandy, CHP systems were able to help reduce the risk of grid disruptions in the face of extreme winds and rain. When Sandy cut the power supply for large portions of New York City, CHP systems enabled hospitals, university campuses, and other buildings to retain full heat and power even after losing grid-supplied electricity.

The United States Capitol rotunda

"Time's A Wastin.'"

In the face of partisan debates and a legislative year that is quickly coming to a close, the sponsors of the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, also known as Shaheen-Portman, are not giving up—and are determined to get the bill through by the end of the year.

Family sharing Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving is the perfect trifecta of family, friends, and food—making it one of my favorite celebrations. But Thanksgiving tops my unofficial “best holiday” list for another, less known and less celebrated, reason.

So what’s that other reason? We consume less energy!

According to Opower, energy use is significantly lower on Thanksgiving compared to a typical Sunday in November. This seems surprising given all of the travelling and cooking that occurs, but a closer examination shows there’s a fairly simple explanation for the Thanksgiving energy anomaly.