"Daring to Commit" was the theme at the 18th annual Energy Efficiency Forum, held June 13 in Washington, DC. The forum was co-sponsored by the United States Energy Association (USEA), and Johnson Controls. The 250 attendees represented a broad spectrum of companies and organizations interested in the country's energy future, ranging from product manufacturers such as Johnson Controls, 3M, and Philips Lighting Co., to associations including the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI), to city, state, and U.S. government agencies, to Fidelity Investments, Wal-Mart, NASA, and the Earth Day Network.
The non-partisan event is designed to raise awareness of the technical, economic, and political solutions available to improve energy efficiency.
The forum focused on both the environmental and economic impacts of energy conservation. "It's truly encouraging to see that so many businesses and industries have moved beyond discussions about the science and politics of energy consumption and its impact on both the climate and the economy," said Barry Worhtington, executive director, U.S. Energy Association. "We are now at a place where everyone should be marching in lock-step toward implementing measures that not only reduce our impact ont he environment, but also enhance sustainability at every level of business."
Energy Efficiency's role in greater energy independence and energy security for the U.S. was stressed by several of the forum's speakers. "The biggest source of new energy is the energy we're wasting," said keynote speaker Samuel W. Bodman, U.S. Secretary of Energy. Other speakers included James Rogers, chairman, president and CEO of Duke Energy; Omar Siddiqui, chief strategist - energy efficiency, Electric Power Research Group; and Klaus Scharioth, German Ambassador to the U.S.
The 2007 Energy Leadership Awards were presented to U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Pete Domenici (R-NM) for their efforts in promoting energy awareness and efficiency. Also honored at the forum were the Igniting Creative Energy (ICE) challenge winners. The ICE challenge, an educational competition sponsored and funded through a grant by Johnson Controls, recognize submissions that demonstrate a creative understanding of what an individual, family, or group can do to conserve energy and protect the environment. For a complete list of award recipients, visit www.eeforum.net.
Other highlights of the conference included the unveiling of a new, national Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) television and print campaign encouraging consumers to look for the EnergyStar label on the products they buy, and a signing of a "Declaration of Energy Independence" for Independence Station, the highest-rated LEED building in the world. The 57,000 sq.ft. mixed use building in Independence, OR, is powered primarily by vegetable oil and the sun. For more information, visit www.independencestation.com.
Prior to the forum, on June 12, Johnson Controls sponsored "A Step-by-Step Guide to Successful On-site Renewable Energy," a special session to help businesses and organizations understand and evaluate on-site renewable energy applications. Andy Karsner, assistant secretary of energy efficiency and renewable energy, U.S. Department of Energy, delivered the keynote address for ther session, which reviewed the financial implications of renewable energy opportunities, presented promising technological solutions to energy efficiency challenges and case studies, and examined rebates, incentives, and renewable energy credits.