Tuesday, March 27, 2012
President Obama Underscores Building Efficiency as Part of the Energy Solution
“If we don’t develop other sources of energy, if we don’t develop the technology to use less energy to make our economy more energy-efficient, then we will always be dependent on foreign countries for our energy needs.”
President Obama made this statement last week before a packed auditorium (a crowd I was fortunate enough to be a part of) at Prince George’s Community College in Maryland. The President laid out his vision of America’s energy future, a vision where true energy independence doesn’t only come from energy development, but through energy efficiency.
This is something all of us in the green community understand. While developing new sources of energy is important - especially for an “all-of-the-above strategy” that harnesses renewable energy forms like wind, solar, and bio fuels - our country will never be truly energy independent unless we are smarter and more efficient in using energy. This means we need to reduce our energy consumption through the low-hanging fruit of energy efficiency, which starts with better buildings.
When the President went on to say, we need to “…make our buildings more fuel-efficient, make our homes more fuel-efficient,” it cut to the very heart of the matter. As a long time member of the Maryland Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, and the present Chapter Chairman, we advocate for common sense public policies that demonstrate our state’s commitment to the President’s challenge. Through better building techniques and achieving LEED certification, Maryland has been a leader in making the homes and buildings of our state as energy efficient as possible. And with a community of more than 3,700 LEED professionals, Maryland’s future is bright as a national example for how states can be smarter in promoting energy efficiency through the built environment.
To that end, the President added that Prince George’s Community College was chosen as the venue for this speech partly because of the work being done on the campus to, in Mr. Obama’s words, “…make sure that homes are using less energy, and help folks save money on their heating and their air-conditioning bills.”
It is validation of the work by the Maryland Chapter and the entire USGBC community for the President to hold this type of speech in Maryland and name better building practices as part of the solution for America’s long term energy needs. And while the debate continues over how to proceed in developing new forms of energy, all can agree that step one should be making sure we use energy smarter and pursue policies that promote efficient energy use.