Lynn Lyle: Perplexed on power

May 25, 2013 

Perplexed on power

What were they thinking in the N.C. House when they passed HB 201, a bill to roll back energy conservation standards for new commercial construction? Don’t they know that buildings consume nearly half the energy produced in the U.S.?

By 2035, approximately three-quarters of our buildings will be either new or renovated. An efficient building sector represents a historic opportunity for saving energy and reducing the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. How we plan and design our buildings will determine whether we become energy independent and climate change is manageable, or whether we continue to rely on imported energy and our coastal cities become inundated.

Our current Energy Conservation Codes were passed in 2011 under Republican leadership. Not one legislator voted against them. What interests are driving this? For those trying to manage utility bills, for businesses and state agencies, the cheapest electricity is the electricity that is never consumed.

As electric rates rise, efficiency standards keep bills lower for consumers and taxpayers. It’s an investment that will easily pay for itself. The bill is in the Senate Commerce Committee. Let’s hope it won’t be as short-sighted as the House.

Lynn Lyle

Raleigh

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