Thursday, July 8, 2010

Physician Heal Thyself

In these very interesting turbulent political times with calls for austerity, conservation and deficits I see the anger directed to Government and agree. I just don't agree on the methods and options for resolution.

But this morning I read this article in the New York Times regarding how the Energy Department is an energy hog. Obama had made part of his mantle of his Presidency Hope and Change and as we move along into year two there is so little of that its easy to see why many both right and left are frustrated. And with the BP Oil spill reminding us again that our dependence on finite non-renewable energy sources are the real problem to this crisis we have to wonder why our Government over the years hasn't simply tried to model themselves as paragons of restraint, virtue and modernization. Regardless of the party in power you are to believe that both Democrats and Republicans have the best interest for the American people and are acting accordingly.

Well figures and numbers speak for themselves and are accepted and/or rejected accordingly depending on who you believe or don't. But when you see simple dollars regarding consumption by a Department that is advocating conservation as a means or option to accomplish reduction in use then why isn't it being done there to show how simple and easy it is?

Well that is the big problem. Talk is cheap, energy is cheap and action well that takes a committee.

As long as we see waste we are encouraged to participate in it. We HAVE to look to our behaviors and not just buy some gadget and not use it properly to see what we are doing. I look to my bills. Its that easy for me and when I see my use go up I take an inventory of what I did that past month and then I try to change my behavior. Its that easy or hard. It depends and there are times when it is simply what it is.

So now ask yourself what are you doing PHYSICALLY first that reduces waste and consumption and then ask yourself what you then actually NEED to do it?


Energy Department Lags in Saving Energy
Published: July 7, 2010

WASHINGTON — Like flossing or losing weight, saving energy is easier to promise than to actually do — even if you are the Department of Energy.

Its Web site advises that choosing new lighting technologies can slash energy use by 50 to 75 percent. But the department is having trouble taking its own advice, according to an internal audit released on Wednesday; many of its offices are still installing obsolete fluorescent bulbs.

And very few have switched to the most promising technology, light-emitting diodes, which the department spent millions of dollars to help commercialize.

Many of the changes would generate savings that would pay back the investment in two years or so, according to the report, by the department’s inspector general.

In one case, the Department of Energy made most of the investment by installing timers to shut off lights at night when it moved into a new building in 1997. But it got no benefit: as of March of this year, it had not bought the central control unit needed to run the system.

“We are requesting people in the federal sector and the private sector to do the cost-benefit analysis and make the investment,” Gregory H. Friedman, the inspector general, said in a telephone interview. “We should do it ourselves.”

Asked about the report, a spokeswoman for the Energy Department, Stephanie Mueller, said, “We can acknowledge there’s more work that needs to be done.”

The problem is not ignorance, the report suggests. For example, the department helped develop a technology called spectrally enhanced lighting that gives off light at wavelengths that mimic the sun. Officials at the Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago told the auditors that that they could reduce energy consumption by 50 percent by switching to the new technology from old fluorescents.

But of seven sites, with 96 buildings in all, that the auditors visited, only two used the enhanced lighting. In many cases buildings were using fluorescents introduced 40 years ago.

Energy Department offices gave a variety of explanations for why they were unable to update their lighting. Some said the lights were in high-security areas. And in some cases, the lighting that needs replacing is on very high ceilings and hard to get to, auditors were told.

In February 2008, the department adopted a new policy for taking its savings from energy conservation and reinvesting them in new conservation measures. But the auditors found that “there was no departmentwide system in place to track or calculate reinvestments of energy savings.”

Of the seven sites visited, only one had a system in place for even identifying the savings, the auditors said.

Nationally, the department has 9,000 buildings and a huge electric bill, $190 million a year, of which about $76 million goes to lighting, the report said. The auditors said more efficient lighting would save American taxpayers $2.2 million a year and free up enough electricity to meet the needs of 3,200 homes.

Ms. Mueller said the department’s headquarters, the Forrestal Building, which sits a few blocks west of the Capitol and near the Smithsonian’s “castle” building, would soon become a showcase for lighting innovation.

Its 600 outdoor lights will be replaced with light-emitting diodes, she said, saving 475 megawatt-hours a year. A typical house uses about 12 megawatt-hours a year.

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