NYTimes: Study Details How U.S. Could Cut 28% of Greenhouse Gases

Here’s a little something for you to read this morning:

“A new report says the country is brimming with opportunities to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, while saving money at the same time.”

From the article:

“The report said the country was brimming with “negative cost opportunities” — potential changes in the lighting, heating and cooling of buildings, for example, that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels even as they save money. “These types of savings have been around for 20 years,” said Jack Stephenson, a director of the study. But he said they still face tremendous barriers.

Among them is that equipment is often paid for by a landlord or a builder and chosen for its low initial cost. The cost of electricity or other fuels to operate the equipment is borne by a tenant or home buyer. That means the landlord or builder has no incentive to spend more upfront for efficient equipment, even though doing so would save a lot of money in the long run.

Another problem, the report said, is that consumers often pay no attention to energy use in choosing gear. Computers, for instance, can be manufactured to use less power, but with most users oblivious to energy efficiency when they are shopping for a computer, manufacturers perceive no competitive edge in spending the extra money on efficiency.

“What the report calls out is the fact that the potential is so substantial for energy efficiency,” said Ken Ostrowski, a leader of the report team. “Not that we will do it, but the potential is just staggering here in the U.S. There is a lot of inertia, and a lot of barriers.””

I know we’ve had to scrounge around to find money to do a formal energy audit here at the Cathedral. But we found it. Because we believe just what the report is saying. That there are simple ways for us to reduce our energy use, save money and help the environment. All at the same time.

And the money savings are going to increase at the same rate the energy costs increase.

I pushed for the same thing to be done at my former parish. We spent about $25,000 fixing the heating system and controllers five years ago. The net effect was to save us almost $10,000/year in heating costs. We started making that money back in the third year. And the congregation has less to worry about now that heating oil prices are threatening to spike once again.

The problem here in Arizona is cooling rather than heating, but the same principles hold true. And we’re getting ready to do what needs to be done.

Read the rest here.

Author: Nicholas Knisely

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...

3 thoughts on “NYTimes: Study Details How U.S. Could Cut 28% of Greenhouse Gases”

  1. My wife and I were discussing what to buy her parents for Christmas, and I said “They always leave the light on in their house. How about a 24-pack of compact fluorescent lightbulbs?” When I said it I was only kidding, but over the past few days I’ve become a little more serious about it.

  2. We had CFL’s in the house in Bethlehem. When we came here to Arizona, I was surprised to find out that the local electrical utility was underwriting the cost of CFL’s for home and business use. I was able to go to Costco and pick up a pack of 6 CFL’s for something like $5. We’ve replaced everything here at home.
    At the Cathedral, the chap we’re working with has told us that the same utility company will subsidize most of the cost of switching our existing florescent light fixtures to more modern, more efficient ones. We should make back our small cost to do that in about 2 years.
    We’re also looking into finding enough roof space to set up solar hot water heating – though frankly here in the summer we don’t actually need to heat the water. The “cold” water is almost 105… Grin.

  3. It’s remarkable how much the price of CFL’s have dropped in the past year or two. I am also watching the approach of solid state lighting, which will enter the market for general illumination eventually (5-10 years?). The first automotive LED headlights arrive in 2008 with the Caddilac Escalade. LEDs are already more energy efficient than fluorescents, but the cost has to come down some more.
    Since I am renting at the moment, I am particularly intrigued by the problem of creating incentives for landlords to create energy efficient structures. At present, there is a substantial disincentive, since the tenant pays the utility bills, and there is no economic return to the landlord. I wonder if any communities are experimenting with other contractual arrangements, such as splitting the utility bill between the tenant and the landlord.

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