Municipal Energy Efficiency – Does it Really Take a Program?

My first reaction when I noticed a recent whitepaper from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) titled How State Governments Enable Local Governments to Advance Energy Efficiency was - WHAT!  I applaud these programs, but should it really take a national or regional government to put a program in place before a municipality does what it should be doing anyway for its citizens?

When you were young, your parents probably told you to turn the lights off when you leave a room.  As you got older, you probably closed the refrigerator door when you were finished getting out your food (hopefully you didn’t need to be told).  Later in life, you likely made decisions in your personal life to reduce energy waste by properly setting thermostats, improving the efficiency of your home, or turning off unused appliances.  Why does your city not practice the same “common sense” techniques every day?

Why citizens are not demanding that their city reduce wasted energy is beyond me.  As a city employee or elected official, should it take an outcry by the community to take all “common sense” actions – especially items at no cost?

Take a walk around your city offices.  Are lights on when city employees go home for the evening?  Are their computers and monitors powered on?  An average computer left on all day and night consumes more electricity than an average refrigerator.  What would the citizen’s response be if every city building was powering up one or more unused refrigerators in all rooms of the building (24x7)?

The US EPA estimates that as few as 36% of employees power down their PCs at the end of the workday even with written policies in place.  There are automated tools available to power down unused computers that require no investment and do not impact user productivity.

 Be a champion within your city to reduce waste.  It doesn’t take a task force to study whether to do what is right and it certainly shouldn’t take a government program to turn off your lights.  Should it?

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