The latest and greatest green news: the U.S. Department of Energy recently declared October 2009 to be a nationwide National Energy Awareness Month. For a more prosperous future, we are encouraged to make investments in energy efficiency and clean energy today. We all want to go green, but this subject can seem turbid at times.What is the best and most cost effective way to go green? Start by using our energy and resources efficiently. Try to improve our indoor air quality (by the way, the EPA states that it is 2-5 times worse than outdoor!). But, what is the easiest way to go green for your business or home?Going green doesn’t always mean high-cost, hi-tech – like buying panels and Priuses. Energy efficiency and valuable resource savings start with low-tech, low-cost tools and practices. A study by consultant McKinsey & Co. found that by 2030, improving the energy efficiency of buildings could limit greenhouse-gas emissions more than ramping up either wind or solar power. To illustrate: the electricity cost for one year of light from a 60 watt incandescent bulb will cost about $7. The cost to power an equivalent LED bulb for one year is $1.60. That is just one example of how low-tech green solutions can be easy and affordable.
The reality is: buildings consume forty percent of the nations energy. That costs us a lot of money. That makes it harder to be less dependent on foreign oil. So the bottom line is we have to reduce what energy and resources we use in our homes and at work. This is not difficult. This does not have to be costly.Even our certified green buildings are not so green, and are failing in the area of energy efficiency. For example: ” The United States Green Building Council’s own research suggests that a quarter of the new buildings that have been certified do not save as much energy as their designs predicted and that most do not track energy consumption once in use. And the program has been under attack from architects, engineers and energy experts who argue that because building performance is not tracked, the certification may be falling short in reducing emissions tied to global warming…how a building is used – how many occupants it has, for example – affects its energy consumption…”If the occupants don’t turn off the lights, the building doesn’t do as well as expected,” … that keeping track of energy use is rarely a priority for owners.” (New York Times, August 31, 2009)
The report from the U.S. Department of Energy added, “If we are to advance energy and climate security, we must focus on energy efficiency.” It’s simple: business and personal energy and resource efficiency is the best starting point for going green. The government is planning to back our efforts with real tax credits and rebates. There has never been a better time to go green. The latest and greatest green news: going green can be easy, and will save both our money and our planet.