energy efficiency, sustainability, green buildings, solar, hybrid cars and alternate fuels.

"A society built on green design, sustainable energy and closed loop systems, a civilization afloat on a cloud of efficient, non-toxic, recyclable technology." ~~Alex Nikolai Steffan

1.08.2009

Green the White House?

The Associated Press reported yesterday that President-elect Barack Obama wants to include ways to cut energy use in federal buildings in his economic aid plan.  


"If we do that effectively, then over the long term we are going to save billions of dollars in energy costs for the federal government and for taxpayers," Obama said.  

The idea of reducing energy consumption goes back to the energy crisis of the 1970s. This story is going to seem familiar to Green Readers, but, guess what? The initiatives lost their momentum when energy prices fell!

Since it's estimated by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) that the US government spends around one-third of $17 billion a year just to heat, cool and light government buildings, it would seem time to create some energy efficient measures to reduce the energy bill we we pay with our tax dollars.  Here's the link, if you would like to read the GAO report. 

We could weatherize the White House!  A post from Solar Ray shows some great pictures of a weatherization 'barn raising' event including blower doors and a little heat seeking gun, which will soon be available to consumers.  This little device whose beam changes color in the presence of cooler temperatures. Solar Ray includes the idea that the application of energy efficient improvements to the White House could be a public even, televised event, promoted to get more folks interested in doing similiar improvements to their own homes.  

Through the US Department of Energy, the low income weatherization program has been around since the 1970's.  The program is designed to train crews who work for non-profits to go into low income homes to fix leaking or broken windows, caulk and weather-strip doors, blow in attic insulation and, in some cases replace the heating sytems.  Originally designed to address heating deficiencies, the program later expanded to include all things related to energy efficiency and incorporated some more sophisticated equipment such as the blower doors and higher quality insulation.  The program creates jobs and helps low income people with long-term energy savings on their heating and cooling costs.  The program received its largest boost when funding from a portion of the 'oil overcharge' funds was funneled into weatherization efforts nationwide. These funds were awarded to states as a result of federal court action requiring certain oil producers to pay restitution for violation of federal oil price and allocation controls that occurred between 1973 and 1981. These funds have subsequently been exhausted.  

In Florida, the weatherization program is administered by the Department of Community Affairs, which funds local non-profits to hire and train crews and provide materials for income eligible families.  In Tallahassee, the Tallahassee Urban League operates the program.  In Franklin, Gadsden and Gulf counties, the Capital Area Community Action Agency provides the services. 

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