Efficiency gets lift from political efforts in Oregon
By Lee van der Voo, Sustainable Business Oregon
Sustainable Business Oregon
When you get right down to it, light bulbs just aren’t as inspiring as solar panels. And while stapling up insulation has its charms, that puffy pink just doesn’t provoke the same awe as a shiny new windmill.
So it’s somewhat a surprise that the once droll topic of energy efficiency is suddenly among the hottest in Salem. In recent years, it’s businesses that have seen efficiency as the smart-money investment. Only now are politicians and environmental groups also lauding efficiency-friendly policies and seizing on their suddenly broad political appeal.
Currently, a four-pronged efficiency package is making its way to policy in the Legislature:
• House Bill 2960 aims to cut energy costs at public schools,
• House Bill 3535 would boost energy efficiency of new construction, create an efficiency rating system for buildings and homes, and require utilities to prioritize energy conservation over power generation.
As all this activity around efficiency advances in Salem, those who have watched efficiency policy inch forward for years say it is finally enjoying the most favorable political climate it's ever seen.
“I think it’s now at a time where there’s no where else to turn,” said Sergio Dias, a consultant who helps industrial facilities strategize energy use. Dias said as climate changes and a growing sustainability ethic reduce the national appetite for coal and nuclear power, renewable energy is more clearly viewed as a necessity, and reducing energy consumption is viewed a key component in a clean energy strategy. “In the past it was that utilities did it because it was a nice thing to do and was good public relations. Now it’s like we have to do it or else we can’t provide electricity to all our customers,” he said.
Lee van der Voo, lvdvoo*at*gmail.com, is a freelance writer for Sustainable Business Oregon.
If you are commenting using a Facebook account, your profile information may be displayed with your comment depending on your privacy settings. By leaving the 'Post to Facebook' box selected, your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below.