Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Overestimating the Light Switch, Underestimating the Insulation

Think you know what saves the most energy? Chances are...you dont. A recent study shows that the majority of Americans perceive behavioral conservation efforts (shutting of lights, drying clothes on a line) as more impactful than they are in reality, and grossly underestimate the potential savings of one-time investments in energy efficiency (such as insulation and air sealing). These misconceptions about energy efficiency lead many to postpone the efficiency measures that will save them the most (while improving their comfort and home value) and remain perplexed when their dedication to 5 minute showers doesnt seem to make a big dent in their energy bills. We need both, conservation and efficiency, to successfully reduce energy use, and the latter needs a little promotional help. Only when we understand what efficiency measures will be most effective can we go from taking baby steps toward making major strides. By serving as an energy concierge, that's exactly what the Community Energy Challenge seeks to do.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Leading the Way for Energy Efficiency Lending

Just yesterday the Community Energy Challenge in partnership with Banner Bank, made its very first energy efficiency loan! This isn't just any old home improvement loan, it's a unique low-interest loan utilizing a loan loss reserve (LLR) made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This LLR allows the bank to provide more attractive loans with lower interest rates, longer terms and enhanced access to credit. The reserve stretches the public funds much farther than a traditional revolving loan program, and unlike a loan guarantee program, the public risk is clearly capped. Banner Bank's local Senior Vice President had this to say: “We saw this program as a way to live Banner’s community bank values. We added up the attributes: creating green jobs, building the communities where we live and work, and teaming up with important community partners. These are all part of Banner Bank’s core mission to Do the Right Thing.”

Efficiency: Twice the Impact of Renewables, Nuclear and Clean Coal. Combined!

With so much buzz about our energy future its easy to get caught up in the excitement of new technology. And new technology will certainly be necessary. But a recent study by the International Energy Agency estimates that efficiency alone will deliver roughly 65 percent of carbon emission cuts. It's so elegantly simple: improve the use of our limited resources and these resources will take us far. Check out this article for more info.