Weatherization savings follow waste

Posted by Tom White on October 25, 2010
Looking to maximize energy savings?  Then look for energy wasters.  "Savings follow waste", said Joel Eisenberg, Senior Analyst for Public Policy at Oak Ridge National Lab, speaking to attendees at his presentation for the National Community Action Foundation Energy Programs Leveraging Conference

According to Joel, weatherizers should look first for the homes at the right side of the bell curve, those homes that are a smaller proportion of eligible homes, but which have the highest energy bills.  More money will be saved by weathering the most inefficient homes that are big energy wasters, than those that require fewer measures.

Bracken Hendricks, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, addressing the closing plenary on "Building a Green Economy: Where do we go from here?" also suggested community action agencies look for waste, but as a source of potential funding.  If so much of our economy is locked into wasteful residential energy habits, why not finance energy efficiency programs by documenting measurable impacts that decrease the costs of wasted energy and increase home values? 

Both Bracken and opening plenary speaker LeAnn Oliver, Program Manager with DOE's Office of Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs, congratulated the gathered attendees for acheiving the 'brick and mortar' weatherization goals that were set for community action agencies as their part of the ARRA stimulus program:  achieving 30,000 weatherized homes per month in June 2010, compared to 30,000 for all of 2009, creating over 25,000 new full time jobs, and building the backbone of a residential energy retrofit industry. 

"Take a victory lap", said Bracken to the NCAF attendees.  But make it quick--there's more work to do!

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