10% Energy Savings

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(Host) The Greater Burlington area is trying to get every person and business to save cash by reducing CO2 emissions, as Ruth Page explains.

(Page) President Bush should be partying at the White House, and his EPA chief, Christy Whitman, should be doing hand-stands. The Greater Burlington community is proving that when utilities and industry cooperate to save money for the industry, they can simultaneously reduce CO2 emissions. A better bottom line and cleaner air move in lockstep.

Burlington joined the Cities for Climate Protection in 1996, and in 1998 decided to reduce the city’s annual greenhouse gas emissions by 10% by 2010, to help reduce the carbon dioxide emissions that raise Earth’s temperature. It’s a big program: Efficiency Vermont, the Chittenden Solid Waste District, our regional planning commission, the county transportation authority and many businesses are cooperating. They call it the 10% Challenge Program sponsored by the Alliance for Climate Action, or ACA. Every individual in the county and beyond is invited to join. The ACA offers an easy way for individuals and businesses to sign up and take action. ACA has been at work for years, but the public kickoff was held just this past April.

Here’s one little example for Bush and Whitman to ponder. In 1996, the General Dynamics Co., with Burlington Electric, installed an energy management system that cost the company $99,400. It has been saving $68,000 every year since, so the payback took less than 18 months. Now the company can just shove that $68 thou right into the bank account. Burlington Electric has been a long- time leader, with recommendations to help all of us save energy and cash while reducing emissions. More than twenty-two Vermont companies in the Greater Burlington area have joined Climate Wise. And of course, as a convinced environmentalist, I signed up.

The 10% Challenge has a web site for all who are interested, or you can notify the program at Burlington Electric of your interest and join by mail. Now you can learn how much your lifestyle contributes to global warming. The web site has an emissions calculator to help you figure it out. So when you take steps to save energy in any way – smaller car, fewer trips, better house insulation or turning the thermostat down a bit in winter and the air conditioner up a bit in summer, you’ll see how to figure the savings. Even skeptics about earth warming should join for the savings.

The 10% Challenge has excellent publications to guide both businesses and homeowners in reducing greenhouse gases. Efficiency Vermont also offers energy saving advice to area residents, and can provide items such as energy-saving lights to assist you. Yankees are noted for their thrift. With this program, we can be thrifty with greenhouse gases, too.

This is Ruth Page, offering a very brief introduction to a well worked-out program that helps Vermont reduce its CO2 emissions. Visit the 10% Challenge web site at www.10percentchallenge.org

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