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U.S. Making Energy Efficiency Sexy

February 3rd, 2010 by Steve Hill Leave a reply »

President Obama encourages energy efficiencyI have just read the news about the latest initiative in the U.S. to encourage states to become more energy efficient and sooner than originally planned – this will help the environment but also the economy as it will lead to financial savings.

This should be great headline grabbing news but it is strange how often “spend, spend, spend” is regarded as sexy while being frugal and saving is regarded as nerdy or introverted.

Fortunately the U.S. is taking a lead in changing what is sexy as far as saving money through energy efficiency is concerned. They have just announced that President Obama’s administration has set up the SEE Action Network (State Energy Efficiency Action Network) to help states achieve maximum cost effective energy efficiency improvements.

This sounds like an interesting development and will hopefully keep the energy efficiency drive, at least in the U.S. of A, moving forward – it is also good to see the States setting a good example in this area compared to past times.

Credit to Mr Obama to keep pushing forward with the energy efficient message and schemes such as this one, particularly when he trying to increase his popularity because as we have established doesn’t produce the biggest headlines.

To help raise the importance and hopefully the desirability of energy efficiency there were some interesting quotes in the Initiative’s press-release from Lisa P. Jackson, the EPA Administrator, and U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

Jackson said in a press-release regarding the new initiative:

“In the clean energy future, energy efficiency is action number one. We can cut greenhouse gases and protect our environment at the same time we save money for homeowners, schools and businesses.”

While Chu added:

“Expanding energy efficiency is one of the quickest, most cost-effective ways we can address climate change and grow America’s economy.”

These quotes are worth highlighting as the truths they state need to be kept to the fore as they crank up awareness of energy efficiency – focussing on it rather than leaving it lurking in the shadows.

A lot of talk and focus goes into renewable, clean energy sources and new energy generation – important in the long term but as Jackson states: “Energy efficiency is action number one,” because as she suggests it ticks all the boxes, particularly with regard to saving money.

Chu underlines the importance of putting energy efficiency at the top of the list by stating that it is the quickest way to address climate change and save money, thus affecting the economy.

Wind turbines, solar panels, wave power and clean power stations are all sexy as they often involve major capital investment, jobs creation and are clearly visible on the skyline or in the oceans. Meanwhile energy efficiency is so often hidden, turning off lights; either by hand or automatically doesn’t demand much attention.

For politicians, locally and nationally, energy saving actions do not grab the headlines when compared to announcing some new wind farm or similar – but the message does seem to be getting though, possibly thanks to the economic downturn over the last year or so.

As politicians, business leaders and others begin to see the figures for the savings made through energy efficiency then they begin to salivate – they can see the headlines and hear the sound-bites in their heads. Suddenly turning out that light becomes sexy and the figures can be seen in black and white (and hopefully in 172 point on the front page alongside a politicians/community leaders name and photo!).

I am not suggesting at all that President Obama, Lisa P. Jackson (mustn’t forget the P) and Steven Chu are taking action for the headlines – I think they want to make the right decisions and are a major driving force behind these energy efficiency initiatives, but what they say is helping to convince the movers and shakers in business, politics and communities to act. When the estimates and even the actual figures are produced then we see a further boost from decision makers.

What happens on a national or international level can be illustrated within your own home. You know, as Ken Cheyne has stated on this blog, that if you hang your washing on a washing line outdoors instead of using an electric dryer you will save money, let alone the environment. Yet so many people do not do it, they carry on using the drier because of habit or convenience.

If someone added a running money meter above the drier running up the costs while in use (like a running taxi meter) would people think again. Imagine that on every appliance, light or electrical system in your home – would you make changes? Only you can answer that but I think we can make a good guess.

If your local City Hall or other public buildings had giant energy cost meters displayed prominently on the sides of the structures showing what was being used and the costs do you think people would change habits and become energy efficient?

So the more encouragement followed up by estimates and actual figures, for energy efficiency the better as saving money instead of throwing it away is always sexy!

(Please note that Enigin PLC do supply a system where your energy saving can be seen publicly – Check It Out)

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