Seattle, WA —With Earth Day approaching, Environment Washington released a new guide to help Washingtonians improve the energy performance of their homes and workplaces. The renewable energy and energy-saving measures proposed by Environment Washington’s “Plug into Clean Energy Guide” promise to lower energy bills and reduce pollution. As the legislature is currently set to approve a bill that will transition TransAlta, the state’s only coal-fired power plant, by 2025, Environment Washington looks to the future and the potential for a clean energy economy.
“Washingtonians are concerned about the environmental impacts of our nation’s energy use and are looking for ways to make a difference,” said Kristina Dumas, Field Associate at Environment Washington. “This guide will provide them with ways to improve the energy performance of their homes by adopting energy saving measures and tapping into clean, renewable energy sources like the sun and wind.”
America’s buildings consume more than 40 percent of our total energy, which amounts to almost 10 percent of all the energy used in the world. Much of this energy is wasted due to inadequate insulation, inefficient heating and cooling systems, and poor construction techniques. But off-the-shelf technologies can reduce that energy waste dramatically, lowering energy bills by as much as two-thirds.
“That’s the best part about making energy efficiency improvements,” said Dumas. “They pay for themselves as consumers enjoy lower energy bills and a cleaner environment year after year. This guide is designed to help families cut through the clutter of information and pick the improvements that are right for them.”
Environment Washington is also launching a public education campaign this summer to provide Washington residents information about opportunities to shift to clean energy. Environment Washington’s Plug into Clean Energy resource center will help citizens with a simple, step-by-step approach to improve energy use in buildings, from lowering the thermostat in the winter all the way to installing rooftop solar panels. We also provide information on the most energy-efficient household appliance choices and links to Washington programs that can help residents invest in energy conservation and clean energy systems.
“From tax credits and rebates to free energy use assessments, there are myriad resources available to help home and business owners tackle the upfront cost of these improvements,” said Dumas. “These are great programs; we want to make sure everyone knows about them.”
Environment Washington was joined by Stanley Florek, CEO of Tangerine Power, and Daniel Winterbottom, Associate Professor at the University of Washington a member of the university’s Northwest Center for Livable Communities, in releasing the new report.
“Every year it gets easier and cheaper to make energy from sun, wind, land, and water,” said Florek, CEO of Tangerine Power, a local community supported energy company. “Every year more Washingtonians are investing in new energy harvesting systems and making money in the process.”
“This is of particular relevance as our region is set to be the first in the country to become coal free,” said Dumas. “Washingtonians have acknowledged that coal is an energy source of the past and that now is the time to explore and embrace cleaner, greener, forms of energy.”
“As technologies improve, conservation has become increasingly practical, ethical and economically feasible. As our global awareness increases it is clear that we cannot continue to consume such a disproportional percent of the world’s energy as we have. A significant contributor is inefficient building design and construction,” said Winterbottom, who teaches in both the Landscape Architecture and general Architecture departments at the UW. “It is important they we become environmental citizens in action not just words and reduce our consumption while increasing our efficiencies of energy use.”
“We face big energy and environmental challenges because of the risky and dirty sources of our energy,” said Dumas. “Washington leaders and national officials must take action to shift America to clean energy. But, we can also get started right here at home, saving energy, saving money and reducing global warming pollution by improving our buildings.”
Environment Washington is a state-based, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organization working for clean air, clean water, and open space.