Federal Agencies Partner to Expand Energy Conservation Program

The Bush administration has unveiled a new partnership aimed at reducing household energy costs by 10 percent over the next decade while seeking to improve the nation's air. The Partnership for Home Energy Efficiency will provide energy saving solutions for households across the country and support research and implementation of a new generation of energy efficiency technologies.

The Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and EPA will provide Americans, including homebuilders, with the latest home energy savings information on a Web portal, http://www.energysavers.gov.

"In this time of high energy costs it's important that the federal government help Americans find ways to reduce home energy use and save money on their energy bills," DOE Secretary Samuel Bodman said. "Under President Bush's leadership, we have developed new technologies and we continue to invest new dollars in finding ways to help homes become more energy efficient. We want to pass along this knowledge to the American people as quickly as possible."

According to the agencies, Americans spend more than $160 billion a year to heat, cool, light and live in their homes. By taking advantage of home energy efficiencies, an average American family could save $150 year.

"For most owners and renters, utility bills are the second largest household expense," HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson said. "That's why housing affordability and energy efficiency go hand in hand. By reducing the price of utility bills, we reduce the cost of living for the nation's low- and moderate-income families."

In addition to the billions of dollars lost through energy inefficiencies, household power waste contributes to the power plant emissions that create soot, smog and acid rain.

"Last year, through ENERGY STAR®, Americans chose to invest in cleaner air and healthier lives - saving enough energy to power 18 million homes and cutting $10 billion from their energy bills," EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson said. "We are delighted to work with our federal partners to help lower energy bills, reduce emissions from power plants and provide the next generation a healthier, cleaner environment."

Goals of the Bush administration's Partnership for Home Energy Efficiency include:

  • Expanding efforts to promote ENERGY STAR® products.
  • Developing durable, comfortable, affordable homes that use 40 percent to 50 percent less energy.
  • Developing new energy efficiency services to provide homeowners with greater savings, such as Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®.
  • Delivering energy efficiency savings to low income and subsidized housing.
  • Continue to invest in innovative research in building science technologies, practices, and policies.
  • Providing design technologies and building practices to allow cost effective net zero energy homes, by 2020.

In addition, individuals can take many simple steps today to help make their homes more energy efficient:

  • Replace incandescent bulbs with lights that have earned the ENERGY STAR®.
  • Use a programmable thermostat with air conditioners to adjust the setting warmer at night, or when no one is home.
  • Use a fan with window air conditioners to spread cool air through a home.
  • Use an energy-efficient ENERGY STAR® air conditioner, which can save up to 50 percent on cooling bills.
  • Install white window shades, drapes or blinds to reflect heat away from the house. Sunny windows can make air conditioners work two to three times harder.
  • Replace windows with ENERGY STAR® models and consider the new double-pane windows with spectrally selective coatings.
  • Tightly close fireplace damper.

For more information on the Partnership for Home Energy Efficiency, visit: http://www.energysavers.gov.

This article originally appeared in the 07/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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