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Green News Roundup: Efficiency

Here are some recent news items, all pertaining to favorite green buzzword “efficiency,” that probably affect you in some way but that you might’ve missed:

Using Energy Wisely
Consulting firm McKinsey & Company’s got a new report saying maximizing energy efficiency would save Americans $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. And that doesn’t even factor in inefficiencies in modes of transportation.

Doing things like manufacturing more-efficient products, educating buyers on the most efficient appliances available, and making products accessible to the masses can help reduce Americans’ energy consumption by 23%, the report claims. Why aren’t we just doing it, then? Why, cost and apathy of course. To get to that trillion dollar-plus gain it’ll take an upfront investment of more than half a trillion dollars and a whole lot of convincing people to actually, you know, care about how much energy they consume.

Greener TVs
The EPA is raising its minimums for qualifying Energy Star televisions. Starting next spring, TV manufacturers that want an Energy Star label will have to ensure their appliances use 40% less energy than standard sets (aka, dirty, no-good, energy-sucking boobtubes). And in 2012, that number rises to as much as 65%. Current Energy Star TVs use at least 30% less energy than standard sets.

EPA says the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the higher efficiency is equivalent to the emissions of 3 million cars. I love those equivalents. It really brings it home. If I extend the math to the individual, it works out that my purchase of a new Energy Star TV next year will keep a half of a side-view mirror off the road. (Yikes – that could be dangerous!)

Greener Churches
Speaking of Energy Star, the EPA is expanding its super-successful program to allow houses of worship – churches, temples, mosques, etc. – to use its Portfolio Manager tool to track energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Schools, hospitals and hotels already are eligible, so adding the nation’s 370,000 (wow!) houses of worship seems like a natural progression.

If you’re a regular house of worship attendee, it only makes sense to bring Energy Star for Congregations to the attention of whoever’s running the joint. After all, saving natural resources is something that would make any god smile.

Water Consumption
It’s easy to forget when you live/work in a big city in North America, as we Captivaters do, but water is a precious commodity. Scarcity affects 40% of the world’s population, according to the World Health Organization. So we need to make sure we use it wisely.

And if you have any ideas on just how to do that, you could be in line for a nice wad of cash and prizes. Submit a viable water-efficiency business plan through the just-opened Imagine H2O Prize competition, illustrating “breakthroughs in the efficient use and supply of water,” and you could pocket $70,000.

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“Green News Roundup: Efficiency”