Reading the news lately, the Obama administration is taking energy efficiency very seriously with proposals and mandates in order to help society reduce its dependency on fossil fuels. This philosophy will take time to permeate society but over the years it will make a difference.
As for the average citizen if you have made a concerted effort to increase the efficiency of your home, you understand the positive impact it can have on your electric bill. Installing more efficient lighting and heating paired with strategic weatherization can provide a lot of bang for your buck, cutting energy bills with relatively low-cost investments.
Now consider the state-based homes of the federal government’s agencies across the country. There are 445,000 federal buildings in the United States, and taxpayers foot the $7 billion annual bill for their heating, cooling, and operation. Why not cut energy waste and extra costs from the federal government’s energy budget in the same way we reduce our own family’s energy bills?
That’s the goal of the Smart Energy Act, a bipartisan bill introduced February 14 in Washington, D.C. The bill will promote efficient energy use in the nation’s federal buildings and provides additional funding and loans for energy efficiency improvements in the private sector. An additional part of the bill sets a national goal to double the use of combined heat and power—efficiently capturing the energy that’s wasted in industrial processes or electricity production and using it to generate heat and electricity. Using this method will help facilities like hospitals, universities, and military bases cut energy costs.
According to the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency, “…combined heat and power and waste heat recovery could create one million new jobs in the design, installation, construction and maintenance of equipment, and help employment in the construction industry, where unemployment is more than twice the national average.”
It’s another example that shows energy efficiency is a win-win situation—not only for families and businesses, but also for Uncle Sam.