Tag Archives: Power Conservation

Report: Fairbanks should invest in energy efficiency instead of new sources

From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Thursday, January 6, 2011:

We try to get the most mileage out of our cars, clothing, food and other commodities before buying more. But we don’t make the most of the electricity we have, a new report states of Fairbanks.

The report states it can be cheaper to invest in energy efficiency than in new sources of energy. It shows Fairbanks can cut its energy demand almost in half by investing $100 million in efficiency. That doesn’t mean turning down the heat but rather insulating and installing more efficient appliances and patching up other electricity-sucking devices.

A panel of state and local officials and energy experts convened Wednesday morning at the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center to discuss the report and the potential of energy conservation in Fairbanks. They said energy efficiency would save money, improve the local business climate and create jobs.

“Energy efficiency and conservation will always be our best economic value and most secure investment. It comes with a high, tax-free rate of return,” said Todd Hoener of Golden Valley Electric Association.

The report, titled Fairbanks First Fuel, was commissioned by the non profit Alaska Conservation Analysis. It explores how Fairbanks residents, businesses and industries use electricity and how they could reap savings by investing in efficiency. It recommends measures for different sectors and gives costs and paybacks of various technologies.

Energy plan calls for unifying electric utilities

From Alaska Dispatch, Monday, November 9, 2009:

State energy planners expect a 50-year economic plan for the Railbelt’s six electric utilities to help make the case for major cooperation on power generation and transmission.

Due out at the end of November, the plan — called the Railbelt Integrated Resource Plan — offers a roadmap for building up electric generation and transmission infrastructure through the state’s most populous region. The plan pinpoints the best options for future infrastructure with minimum long-term costs to rate payers, Alaska Energy Authority project manager Jim Strandberg said.

Click here to read the full story.

Questions Linger Over Energy Star Ratings

From NPR, Thursday, October 22, 2009:

Energy Stars are those blue stickers that are supposed to help you choose the most energy-efficient appliances, TVs and other power-hungry gadgets. More than one-third of Americans use them to pick products, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which runs the program with the Energy Department.

The government says Energy Star is working so well that last year it helped Americans save the same amount of greenhouse gas pollution as is produced by 29 million cars.

But for years, critics have pointed to several flaws in the program that raise doubts about the reliability of Energy Star ratings. For instance, side-by-side and French-door refrigerators can get Energy Stars even though they use a lot more electricity than do fridges with freezers on the top. That’s because the government splits up various types of refrigerators into different categories and judges each separately.

Click here to read the full story.

How green is your shelter?

From the New York Times on Wednesday, June 11, 2009:

Environmental savings can be elusive, and the benefits and costs confusing. To help households wade through the information, consultants armed with stepladders and gadgets are selling advice on energy efficiency, indoor air quality and even methods for creating an eco-conscious wardrobe.

The field of personal and home eco-consultants is relatively new. GenGreen, a Colorado company that offers a national directory of businesses marketing themselves as green at gengreenlife.com, says it has just over 3,000 listings under the umbrella term environmental consultants, up from 657 when the database was started in 2007. They include energy auditors, health and wellness experts, interior designers and “eco-brokers,” real estate agents who specialize in green homes. While real estate agents can get training and certification as “eco” or “green” by trade organizations, and states like New York run energy audit programs with accreditation rules, there are no industry standards for most eco-consultants, who can range from environmental engineers to the self-taught.

Click here to read the whole story.

Green building can present new legal risks

From the New York Times on Friday, May 29, 2009:

Building green can open the door to plenty of legal pitfalls, a new study warns.

The study, by Harvard Law School’s Environmental Law & Policy Clinic and sponsored by Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox, a Philadelphia law firm, says that green building raises a number of liability questions.

What if the building set out to meet LEED certification or other government green-building standards, but falls short, for example? What if it fails to garner expected tax breaks from the government for building green?

Click here to read the whole article.

Batteries Set Us Free, But Should Be Recycled

BY Adam Wasch, Energy Outreach Consultant for CCHRC and UAF CES
Energy Focus: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner May 21st, 2009, Section A3

There were kids whose toys were not powered and those whose toys were. Batteries made the difference. I was a powerless kid. My toys only went as far as I could throw them. My best friend Brett, however, had self-propelled cars, a portable radio, and an electric-eyed Skeletor who said, “I must possess all, or I possess nothing,” when pushed. I thought Brett was better off. Decades later, I still feel defeated by the stamina of battery-powered toys. Continue reading

Obama orders energy efficiency standards upgraded

From the New York Times on Thursday, February 5, 2009:

President Obama ordered the Energy Department on Thursday to immediately draft long-overdue standards to make a variety of appliances and light bulbs more energy efficient.

Over the last three decades, Congress has demanded stricter efficiency standards on 30 categories of products, as varied as residential air-conditioners and industrial boilers. But successive administrations have failed to write regulations to enforce the laws, even when ordered to by the courts.

In remarks to employees of the Energy Department, and in a presidential memorandum, Mr. Obama said he intended to comply with the laws, starting this year with nine categories of products, including ovens, vending machines, microwave ovens, dishwashers and light bulbs.

He said the new standards would cut energy use and reduce emissions of the heat-trapping gases that scientists blame for global warming.

Click here to read the whole article.

The biggest energy source? Efficiency!

From Yale University’s environment360, posted on 11/26/08, retrieved on Friday, February 27, 2009:

Yale Environment 360: You have called energy efficiency “the largest, cheapest, safest, cleanest, fastest way to provide energy services.” How do you quantify that claim? For example, how large, how cheap, how fast?

Amory Lovins: Oh, for example, in the United States we could save at least half the oil and gas and three-quarters of the electricity we use, and that efficiency investment would cost only about an eighth [of] what we’re now paying for those forms of energy. …

Click here to read the whole article, or listen to the podcast of the interview.

Click here to

LED lights — not just for your DVD player anymore

From the New York Times on Sunday, May 10, 2009:

Most people think of LEDs as the lights blinking from inside electronic devices. They are being used increasingly to light rooms, though few people have ever bought them.

“In the U.S., 78 percent of the public is completely unaware that traditional light bulbs will be phased out in 2012,” said Charles F. Jerabek, president and chief executive of Osram Sylvania, a unit of Siemens. By law, bulbs must be 30 percent more efficient than current incandescent versions beginning that year.

Click here to read the whole story.