BLOG TO SAVE ENERGY

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.

Close-up of tax form
The IRS may have given itself a one-to-two week delay on the start of the 2014 tax season, but there’s no such luck for anyone wanting to claim tax credits for energy-efficient purchases and improvements made in 2012 or 2013. While the Alliance continues to fight for the extension of these important federal tax credits, they are set to expire on December 31 — unless Congress acts.
Feet warming by the fire during the winter

The holiday season is almost here, and if you’re not prepared, higher energy bills are on their way with it.

EIA is predicting a likely 9-13 percent increase in heating costs for most homes this winter. Combine that with the desire to have a Griswald-like holiday display and many Americans are facing big energy bills this season. But don’t lose your holiday spirit yet!

If you’re smart and take our advice, your energy bills will drop faster than the LED ball in Times Square!

Working oil rigs pumping under the sun
The United States will surpass Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s top oil producer by 2015, according to a report released this week by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
A row of army men in uniform

With the excitement of a long weekend it’s easy to lose sight of what this extra vacation day is really about. Today, Veteran’s Day, offers a specific opportunity to express our gratitude for the sacrifices military men and women make every day across the country. As one of our country’s most vital valuable assets, the military and its missions and tactics are frequently discussed and praised.

But often left unnoticed is the military’s growing leadership on the energy front.

Twitterchat on energy-efficient lighting
A lot can happen in one hour. But on Twitter, that doesn’t even begin to explain it. Last week, more than 130 of you joined the Alliance, Energy Star, Cree, Inc., the American Lighting Association, and others to talk saving money with energy-efficient lighting during our second LUMEN Coalition Twitterchat. And in just one hour, together we sent out over 500 tweets and reached 210,000 people.
Vampire Energy

By now, most of us now associate vampires with “Twihard” tweens obsessed with a certain book and movie series. You might have hoped the craze would pass and you’d never have to hear about those blood-sucking creatures again.

But like it or not, vampires are a part of all of our lives, and it doesn’t come and go with pop-culture fads or Halloween season. Also referred to as “phantom load,” “standby power” or “idle current,” vampire energy is the electricity that outlets and electronics endlessly “suck” from our plugs, even if the device is fully charged, off , or in sleep mode. Microwaves, coffee makers, laptops, printers, TVs, cable boxes, (literally anything you can plug into an outlet) and more are haunted by vampire energy.

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