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General News    H4'ed 5/15/19

Reducing Energy, Saving Money, Creating Jobs and Staying Safe

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The mission of Food and Water Watch includes "standing up to corporations that puts profits before people," recently released a report titled: Building Climate Justice Investing in Energy Efficiency for a Fair and Just Transition.

There are plenty of stats, but the bottom line is simple. Energy efficiency is the key to achieving the goals of:

  • Reduce energy consumption.
  • Save money.
  • Create jobs.
  • Protect the viability of the planet.

What is energy efficiency? It's how much energy is needed to perform a specific work task. It is the delivery of improved energy to perform the same function while reducing consumption.

Example: The most efficient light bulb needs less energy to generate the same amount of light.

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Food and Water Watch outlines what a $500 billion investment in upgrading the energy efficiency of buildings, over a fifteen-year time span, would achieve. They qualify it in terms of economic benefits, job creation, achieving environmental justice parity, reducing energy usage, saving money, and reducing emissions. Results would include:

  • A 36 percent decline in building energy use from current projected demand.
  • 3 million jobs created annually, which is 20 percent more than current job creation rates.
  • $1.3 trillion in savings on consumer utility bills.
  • 300 million metric ton reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from current projections. This amount equals what would be emitted from nearly 80 coal-fired power plants.

Of greatest import, the study shows that these initiatives would totally eliminate the need to build any new fossil fuel power plants.

Build Green

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Buildings use the greatest amount of total energy consumed in the country 40 percent. This exceeds both the industrial and transportation sectors. The types of buildings that would be targeted are offices, schools, and housing.

Currently, there is both developed technology to achieve these goals, and technology that is being advanced. The top ways to attack the problems include:

  • Weatherize buildings by preventing the escape of either heated or cooled indoor air.
  • Upgrade efficiencies in temperature systems.
  • Upgrade efficiencies in home appliances and electronics.

Green Jobs

Looking at the employment component, the majority of created jobs would fall into the sector of "high-quality construction and manufacturing." Targeted sites would be "energy inefficient buildings," most of which are situated in low-income areas and communities of color.

This is where occupational innovation feeds into the economic justice piece of the equation. There would be recruitment and training in these sectors to carry out the upgrades. In addition to tapping workers from the lower end of the economic scale, there would be outreach and retraining for those who were previously employed in the fossil fuel industries.

Pro-labor policies, unions, and a commitment to upholding safety and environmental rules would be a prerequisite for participating companies.

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The report emphasizes that if the road to energy efficiency is actively pursued, by 2035, a potential 20.8 million jobs could be created.

Of course, there will be naysayers. However, the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System and FDR's rural electrification program stand as examples of what can be accomplished.

Reduce Energy Consumption

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Marcia G. Yerman Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter Page       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Marcia G. Yerman is a writer, activist, and artist based in New York City. Her articles--profiles, interviews, reporting and essays--focus on women's issues, the environment, human rights, the arts and culture. Her writing has been published by (more...)

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