5 Ideas for When You Turn Out the Lights

The clock ran out in Congress last week on a bill to repeal energy-efficient light bulb standards. Cue the giant, energy-devouring, glass ball above Time Square. It's time to celebrate! We’re counting down five of Planet Forward’s best ideas about efficiency. Discover which innovations will brighten our energy future, then tell us about the radiant idea bulbs floating over your own heads.

5. Clean Power Is a $2.3 Trillion Opportunity

Congress refused to lower their standards on light bulbs. But what about renewable energy? One of the most effective policies to maximize investment, states Phyllis Cuttino of Pew Environment Group, is a “renewable electricity standard.” A Pew report shows that such a standard would attract $342 billion in private investment to the United States over the next decade.

4. Community Engagement, Energy Efficiency, Job Creation

Nothing beats the heat like an energy-efficient house party! No need to bring a designated driver. According to Sam Witherbee of WeatherizeDC, “In northwest D.C., every weatherization would be like taking three cars off the road for a year.”

3. Real-Time Monitor and Controller to Influence Energy Conservation Behavior

Proponents of the repeal bill claim that efficiency standards threaten consumer choice. Darn those meddling politicians! The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has developed a computer chip, no larger than a quarter, to monitor energy output for all the appliances in your home. How about Congress sticks that on its docket and signs it?

2. Increase Power Plant Efficiency Using Existing Technology

People around the country, especially in the South, are virtually melting because of mid-summer temperatures. In Texas, “it’s all about cooling,” according to Juan Ontiveros, director of Utilities and Energy Management at the University of Texas at Austin. Ontiveros manages Central Chilling Station No. 6, the most efficient chilling station in the country.

1. Implementing Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management in Ghana

Have you connected the electricity and plumbing in your house yet? Well, the time has come. The Columbia University Chapter of Engineers without Borders traveled to Obodan, Ghana, where students designed an “energy cycle” to improve sanitation, while converting waste to energy. Their design uses waste from latrines to fuel a gas-powered water pump and fertilize crops throughout the village. Oh, and they can play K'Naan on the ukulele. Need we say more?

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