Let’s face it. America’s economy is bad shape. Some will seize upon the troubled times to argue that we should cut back on investing in clean energy and environmental protection. But that’s the wrong direction both for today and for the future.
For today, energy efficiency makes even more sense in tight financial times. Businesses can’t afford to waste energy and drain their bottom lines from high energy bills, while causing more pollution to our environment. Improving energy efficiency is an investment that can achieve a healthy return. Smart businesses view their energy efficiency investments as a profit-center.
ELPC’s colleagues at the Alliance to Save Energy explain this well. “Industry accounts for one-third of all energy use in the U.S. Energy-intensive industrial plants typically have enormous energy bills, sometimes running into the millions of dollars annually. Energy efficiency improvements offer the potential for a significant return on investment for the industrial energy consumer in the form of lower utility bills, as well as for the public in the form of reduced pollution and energy prices.”
The same is true for improving energy efficiency in our homes. “Investing in a home on your street could be more profitable than investing on Wall Street,” says the energy team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. These days — no kidding! Energy efficiency lightens the load on our energy bills and bank accounts. It’s a safe and sound investment.
The U.S. is beginning to invest more heavily in clean renewable energy technologies and cleaner, more fuel efficient cars of the future. Let’s invest in the clean wind power and solar technologies of the future and not cede the next generation’s global leadership to other countries. Let’s produce the innovative clean cars here that can get 50 miles per gallon or better and reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil. Let’s gain the green jobs of the future in a carbon-constrained economy, and not cling only to the declining jobs of old-technology cars and trucks with declining sales.
We should invest more in upgrading energy efficiency because it saves us money, creates jobs and avoids pollution today and over the next twenty years. America should invest in achieving technological breakthroughs with solar energy, greater utilization of wind energy, and gaining advances in new, more efficient battery technologies. America should invest in getting more domestically manufactured plug-in electric hybrids and other clean cars on the road as soon as possible. In today’s challenging economic times, these investments are even smarter, more sensible and more necessary going forward.