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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Let’s start without them

I don't even attempt to argue with the global warming deniers anymore, because it's a waste of energy. The Republican Party is trying limiting the powers of the EPA by stripping it of its ability to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. They are also gutting the State Department's climate aid programs and slashing funds for energy and climate research across the federal government. It's time to start Green programs that don't need Federal grants.

A good place to start is with our energy wasting buildings. Our skyscrapers are among the worst culprits in urban areas when it comes to energy consumption and carbon emissions with their outdated heating, cooling, and lighting systems. The other morning I heard Rick Fedrizzi, CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council, said he has certified more than 1000 retrofits of existing buildings around the globe since 2002. About 5,234 retrofits are in the works saving 200 million metric tons of carbon.

The biggest success story so far is the Empire State building which is undergoing a $13 million retrofit, which will pay for itself in three years in reduced annual energy consumption. They will reduce their energy costs by 38%; and part of their costs was reduced with a $2 million dollar grant from New York State. Instead of replacing the 6,514 windows, they cleaned them and insulated them in place. And Instead of paying $2500 each, to replace them; the latter solution only cost $700 per window. Some people called for installing solar cells or even a windmill but that didn't make economic sense.

The lobbyists for dirty coal and big oil are not the only bottlenecks keeping us from switching to alternative fuels…… Right now about 60% of the cost of investing in alternative fuels goes overseas, because that's where the solar panels, wind turbines, etc. are being made. Retrofitting keeps the jobs right here in the good old USA.

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