Amidst the tremedous progress being made in Congress on legislation to create a clean energy economy, today the President led by example and did his part here in the Executive branch. The President and Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today several innovative actions that will promote energy efficiency while saving Americans billions of dollars annually. This announcement highlights the fact that clean energy not only makes environmental sense, but it also makes smart economic sense. The President explained that this is why the administration has put energy at the forefront of our economic recovery, working to build a new, clean energy economy for the future:
So we've gotten a lot done on the energy front over the last six months. But even as we're changing the ways we're producing energy, we're also changing the ways we use energy. In fact, one of the fastest, easiest, and cheapest ways to make our economy stronger and cleaner is to make our economy more energy efficient. And that's something that Secretary Chu is working every single day to work through.
This announcement, which takes effect in 2012, includes major changes to energy conservation standards for household and commercial lighting. It mainly focuses on General Service Fluorescent Lamps, commonly found in residential and commercial builds, and Incandescent Reflector Lamps, commonly found in recessed and track lighting. Although these changes may not sound exciting, the President explained, the effects will be substantial:
The first step we're taking sets new efficiency standards on fluorescent and incandescent lighting. Now I know light bulbs may not seem sexy, but this simple action holds enormous promise because 7 percent of all the energy consumed in America is used to light our homes and our businesses. Between 2012 and 2042, these new standards will save consumers up to $4 billion a year, conserve enough electricity to power every home in America for 10 months, reduce emissions equal to the amount produced by 166 million cars each year, and eliminate the need for as many as 14 coal-fired power plants.
The President and Secretary Chu also announced that $346 million from the Recovery Act will go towards accelerating the development and use of energy efficient technologies in new and existing commercial and residential buildings. Improving building efficiency will not only create jobs, but it will also be a crucial step in reducing carbon emissions:
And if we want to make our economy run more efficiently, we've also got to make our homes and businesses run more efficiently. And that's why we're also speeding up a $346 million investment under the Recovery Act to expand and accelerate the development, deployment, and use of energy-efficient technologies in residential and commercial buildings, which consume almost 40 percent of the energy we use and contribute to almost 40 percent of the carbon pollution we produce.
We're talking about technologies that are available right now or will soon be available -- from lighting to windows, heating to cooling, smart sensors and controls. By adopting these technologies in our homes and businesses, we can make our buildings up to 80 percent more energy efficient -- or with additions like solar panels on the roof or geothermal power from underground, even transform them into zero-energy buildings that actually produce as much energy as they consume.
If you’d like to learn more about today’s announcement and how it will improve energy efficiency, you can read the White House fact sheet.