The idea of EPA creating incentives to drive energy efficiency sounds like a constructive step, even though I'm not convinced their claimed mandate will survive legal challenges.
I'd like to see more personal responsibility in the arena of energy efficiency and conservation. I get the impression that some advocates are mainly political operatives. I'd feel better if these individuals could cite how much they have reduced their own utility usage in recent years. In our case, the number is 50% as measured by our gas and electric bills.
I think I'll know energy efficiency has moved from 'talk' into the realm of reality when I no longer see yard lights left on 24/7, when I see more solar screens or comparable devices to reduce summer solar gain and thus reduce electricity for air conditioning, when I see residential real time pricing schemes dynamically adjusted so that risk takers have an even chance to save $ while reducing utility peak usage, and when I see LBNL publish findings on the efficiency and financials and aesthetics of window attachments in saving energy. (I'd judge LBNL as a nicely qualified third party evaluator of building energy efficiencies. We need to make sure that our third party evaluations are subject to scientific review and challenge. Otherwise, instead of credible, it may merely be politics in disguise.)
If we take personal responsibility to improve our energy use, it won't matter whether the EPA's plan is followed or changed, the desired energy savings would still be there along with the attendant economies and other benefits.
I like saving energy. I've installed projects at home that have cut our utility usage almost in half with no changes in activities or life style. Then I read the blog above and the comments. I notice:
1) The dialogue is SOOOOOO political. The article invites that by keying the subject to the SOTU address. I find the political dialogue a downer. I'd rather hear about projects and results.
2) There's talk about what CAN'T be done. I like focusing on what CAN be done. Of those who talk about what CAN be done, it would be refreshing to hear about more new ideas and things they can own and do rather than berating others to work and invent harder.
3) I'm wondering if the current leadership is really helping or hurting. Even for a topic like energy efficiency, when the leader alienates half the population, it seems this would lead to slower results. That's why I prefer a focus on projects. Let anyone who can contribute do so and then we can all rejoice in the success. If some projects require government subsidy, I'm sure both sides of the political spectrum would give it a fair hearing. If a project is really good, it may not need a subsidy. I remember when Kennedy said we should go to the moon. That was a goal we could own and be proud of and we made it happen with a lot of patroitism and pride. I don't sense that level of inspiration coming from the current lot. I wonder who we are going to blame next?
5) There's still hope. The DOE is studying the energy effects of window attachments. This has the potential to produce really HUGE efficiency improvements and/or conservation, depending on how one scores it. Either way, we CAN do this!
U.S. DOE Tech Analysis Workshop for Window Attachments has begun. There are significant opportunities for energy savings by going outside the window with attachments. I'm wondering:
WHAT CODES SHOULD APPLY to attachments and how might they be structured so as to encourage this emerging technology? Some products such as awnings and shutters have been around for a long time. Solar screens are newer. Solar grates produce similar savings. Blinds between the panes are an attachment built into the window. Films are known to sometimes stress the window glass.