Efficiency is Powerful Source of Energy

That was what Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) said at the Great Energy Efficiency Day 2010 that “..efficiency is a powerful source of energy.” Sometime last week, I attended the Great Energy Efficiency day 2010, over at Dirksen Senate building on Capitol Hill. The event was packed with good stuff on energy efficiency. I always end up learning new things that I didn’t know before coming, which is a good thing.

Everyone in the room is probably 99.9% already a convert. However, the thing about education, outreach, awareness is brought up again and again by a number of presenters. This is the big hole in energy efficiency. How can you bring energy efficiency up to scale without enough number of people getting the information and take action. On one side you have converts and on the other side you have majority of Americans who aren’t yet. And this is where organizations from businesses to non-profits to governments (local, state and Fed) need to focus on – if they want to have more adopters in the program. 

Highlights from the event:

  • The big talk: jobs. Everyone was talking about it.
  • The two Federal programs in the pipeline: Home Star and Building Star. Home Star is Fed’s program similar to cash for clunkers program for the auto industry, this one is for residential properties. Call it cash-for-caulkers. Good program, since 96% of basic retrofit for homes and business is made in the USA. Building Star, similar to Home Star, except this one is targeted for commercial real estate
  • Bills, bills – discussion on: US House ACES or America Clean Energy and Security Act (Waxman-Markey) and Senate ACELA or the American Clean Energy Leadership Act. ASE has the cheat sheet on the difference between the two bills. 
  • Discussion on Fed, State and Local stimulus dollars for energy efficiency, stimulus and smart communities. From what I heard, there are challenges to be dealt with in getting the stimulus dollars working on the ground. 
  • Everyone seems to agree on the need for education, awareness, outreach. Right now, energy efficiency, renewable energy  – sounds like Greek to a lot of people. They’re not there yet. 

Kristina Johnson, the Under Secretary of Energy, Dept. of Energy said that energy efficiency is the ‘urgency of now.’ DOE research budget for clean energy is $10 billion. She laid out the strategy to focus on innovation. She says that “I think everyone would agree if we don’t want to grow Greenhouse Gas from 6 to 7 GT, we have to have energy efficiency, relies on energy efficiency for baseline.” 

In between speeches, there were three panel of discussions:

  1. Federal, State and Local Stimulus Dollars promoting energy efficiency. Panelists include Lisa Elledge, who is the Stimulus Program Manager (that is her job title) with Texas State Energy Office. Andy Holzhauser, with GCEA. And Malcolm Woolf, with Maryland Energy Administration. 
  2. Stimulus and Smart Communities with panelists that include former Governor Glendening with Smart Growth Leadership Institute, William Millar, with American Public Transportation Association and Dr. Stephen Van Beek with Eno Transportation Foundation. 
  3. Building for the Future: EE Technologies today and tomorrow. Panelists include Robert Dixon, with Siemens Industry, Steve Hilton with Meritage Homes Corporation, Faren Dancer, with Paradigm Development Partners, Steve Hochhauser, with Ingersoll Rand and Michael Lawrence with Johns Mansville. 

If you want to follow the money. Follow the money on energy efficiency. Seriously. Even Warren Buffett gets his money deep on one of the companies that make insulation, Johns Mansville. What’s more – with the support from the Feds (read: incentives and such), this market is going to be huge. 

While there, I had the opportunity to talk to several individuals. Dr. Maryln Brown, a Professor of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who is nominated for one of the two vacant seats on the nine-member Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors. She’s been involved with getting the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance going. Andy Holzhauser, with GCEA talks about his organization plan to outreach targeted neighborhoods to get the retrofit program going. And Faren Dancer, who is the current chair of the Santa Fe Green Building Council. Faren just completed the Emerald Home, HERS-2, the pilot for Santa Fe’s new building codes.

 

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=10188290&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

at Great Energy Efficiency Day 2010 from Dewita Soeharjono on Vimeo.

With that, here are the links to the various presentations from the event, via Alliance to Save Energy.

This post originally appeared at Things Organic

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Author: Dewita

Co-founder Ecotwist Labs.

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