Posts tagged: energy efficiency

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

energy efficiency


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Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.

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unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders.

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
25 May 2010, 9:16 AM
Lovins and RMI on a new video outline an energy future to believe in

If we have any hope of reversing global warming and breaking our addiction to fossil fuels, we will need to find and pay attention to geniuses who can discard traditional thinking and biases and find a way through the current mess to a future energy economy based on efficiency and renewables.

Oh wait. We've had one such person around for nearly 40 years, and his contributions are already legion. He is Amory Lovins and his Rocky Mountain Institute. They have been advising businesses and governments for years, to great effect. Now it's time to take the message global, and fast. To that end, the institute has just released a new six-minute video called "Reinventing Fire" that outlines the beginning of the vision. There's much work to do, but this little movie makes a compelling case that a solution is possible. Take a look.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
29 April 2010, 12:24 PM
And more evidence of climate change, & learning things the hard way

Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over again and expecting different results. Einstein, who had a particular knack for coming up with enduring and timeless ideas, may find application in our country's energy landscape today.

Looking out yonder, we see a devastating oil spill and possibly one of the worst and most costly ecological disasters in our country's history, mountains being destroyed by explosives and the resulting toxic sludge getting dumped into our waterways, communities and people being poisoned by coal ash and coal waste, and carbon pollution exacerbating heat waves, warming our oceans, and increasing ocean acidity until building blocks of our underwater life are killed off—and these are just some of the things we are seeing here in the U.S.

Looking beyond the U.S., we see unfriendly regimes getting stronger and richer from our reliance on foreign oil, we see China boosting its share of the renewables market in its quest for global economic leadership and to meet its growing thirst for energy.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
20 April 2010, 12:47 PM
Energy efficiency positions itself to take a lead role in 2010

We’ve been calling it our nation’s dark horse energy source for a while now. We’ve been saying it has the potential to wean us off our dependence on dirty foreign and fossil fuels, provide jobs, and fight climate change. And we’ve been saying that if you embrace it, you will save lots of money in the process. So, just in time for Earth Day, we’re delighted to see some strong signs that energy efficiency will be propelling ahead in 2010.

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
01 April 2010, 9:40 AM
DOE chooses strong water heater standard

And we couldn't have done it without you. When we called on our supporters to urge DOE to adopt strong standards for water heaters, nearly 14,000 of you responded with public comments. Let's continue the momentum: in the coming months the Obama administration will consider new efficiency standards for several appliances and in December will finalize a new standard for residential refrigerators. According to DOE, the potential energy savings from strong energy efficiency standards for refrigerators could be worth more than $50 billion in reduced electric bills for American families.

DOE is also developing new standards for furnaces, air conditioning window units, heat pumps, and clothes dryers.

Let's continue to encourage the Obama administration to choose standards that will save our planet, bolster our economy, and put money back into the pockets of American families.

View Shirley Hao's blog posts
29 March 2010, 1:24 PM
A new entry to the energy efficiency lexicon?
The godfather of energy efficiency at work. (Photo: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

Dust off those cobwebs from your memories of high school science. Can you describe what these words have in common: tesla, volt, mach?

While some may be saying, “Cars!” (Tesla Roadster, Chevy Volt, and, of course, Speed Racer’s Mach 5), the actual answer is: “Scientific units named after people.” Nikola Tesla (magnetic field strength); Alessandro Volt (electrical potential difference); and Ernst Mach (an object’s speed when traveling at the speed of sound).

To these and dozens of other units-formerly-known-as-people, we may soon be adding the Rosenfeld.

Dr. Arthur H. Rosenfeld has spearheaded energy saving techniques since the oil embargo crisis in the 1970s. Already well known within energy circles, the good doctor was highlighted to Jon Stewart’s Daily Show viewers last year during an interview with Secretary of Energy Steven Chu (6:49):

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
27 March 2010, 6:01 AM
It's time for this label to grow some teeth
A GAO image of a fraud item that earned the Energy Star label

A government report today exposed some startling problems with the federal Energy Star labeling program. In a secret audit, the Government Accountability Office found that several preposterously inefficient and even laughable fake appliances were able to earn the government's gold-standard label intended for exceptionally efficient products.

According to this New York Times article, the fictitious appliances included a gasoline-powered alarm clock and an "air purifier" that was nothing more than a space heater with a feather duster attached on top. They were submitted to the EPA and DOE, who jointly run the Energy Star program, by the Government Accountability Office under the guise of made-up company names and addresses.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
17 March 2010, 2:43 PM
On St. Paddy’s Day, think green by finding ways to do more with less

Funny how it all comes full circle. My hard-working folks did everything they could to scrimp and save for my education, cutting corners wherever they could to make sure I could go to the college of my choice. No cable TV, no HoHos or Lunchables in my lunchbox, no turning up the heat of our frigid house even in the dead of the Midwest winter, and no, and I mean absolutely NO, leaving lights on around the house. This was my mom's pet peeve.

"Turn off the lights when you leave a room—we're not the Rockefellers!" she would proclaim, as if that meant something to a 7-year-old kid who couldn't discern her reference to the legendary Cleveland family of industrial-era oil magnates and philanthropists from a hole in the wall.

Fast forward twenty-some years to the three main points of my blog today:

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
21 January 2010, 12:25 PM
Focus is on clean energy, natural heritage, and health

Last year, the U.S. government started taking environmental protection seriously again, but as 2010 dawns, we continue to see political and economic interests preventing or stalling critical environmental solutions.

In the face of this opposition, this year Earthjustice is targeting key issues with our legal and advocacy work. Our focus is on three core priorities: building a clean energy future, protecting our natural heritage, and safeguarding our health.

To avoid global warming's worst impacts, we must build a clean energy future. Reducing demand through efficiency and increasing supply from renewable sources of power are cornerstones of the foundation. But these steps are obstructed by the political stranglehold of the fossil fuel industry. Earthjustice is using the law to help break our national reliance on fossil fuels, which we continue to extract, burn, and subsidize heavily with taxpayer money, despite the destructive impact on people and the planet.

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
19 January 2010, 4:44 PM
Conservation and efficiency evaluations tip the scale

Updating a story from a few weeks ago, proposals for big new transmission lines that would bring coal plant energy from the Appalachia to the Eastern Seaboard are not standing up well when put under the microscope.

The largest of these projects, the Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH), was recently put on ice when the proponents (two coal companies) were challenged to prove they were actually needed.

Earthjustice attorney Abigail Dillen challenged the PATH proposal in Virginia on behalf of the Sierra Club. She argued that reduced demand and increased efficiency must be considered when weighing the need for the project.

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View Molly Woodward's blog posts
15 January 2010, 10:54 AM
Clean Air Act, public lands drilling, efficiency standards, Pacific fisher

Some top stories from the last week at Earthjustice...

Sen. Lisa Murkowski seems determined to undermine the Clean Air Act, and has enlisted industry lobbyists in her quest. Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen discussed why it's critical to take action now to protect this important environmental law.

The days of rampant, indiscriminant oil and gas drilling on public lands are over, according to an announcement from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. The BLM will develop and extend the environmental review processes for public lands drilling plans, something Earthjustice attorneys have advocated for years. 

The DOE just released new efficiency standards for Laundromat washing machines, but unfortunately they won't do enough to weed the least efficient from the market. Next time you take a trip to the Laundromat, try to find a front-loading machine, as these tend to waste less water and energy than top-loaders.

If you haven't heard much about the rare Pacific fisher, it might be its rarity after centuries of fur-trapping and logging in the Pacific northwest. Now, an Earthjustice lawsuit has helped make sure it's still eligible for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Find out more about this mighty porcupine hunter in Monday Reads.