In “A Tale of Two Cities,” Charles Dickens wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity … .” Over the past year, multiple people have shared this quote with me and likened it to our times and the concerns we face regarding our changing climate.
As you look around the world, you see that a third of Pakistan is underwater due to some of the worst flooding in history; Lake Mead and Lake Powell, which supply water from the Colorado River to farmland and cities throughout the U.S. Southwest, are at record low levels; dozens of wildfires are occurring throughout the world; and European countries are facing a cutoff of natural gas supplies from Russia as winter approaches.
However, with all the bad news we see daily, we are beginning to see a groundswell of activity to address these problems. As Candace Browning, Bank of America securities head of global research, stated in a March 24 Bloomberg interview about net zero and corporations, “In 2019, about 16% of the world’s GDP, you know, by country, had committed to some sort of net zero plan. And today, just three years later, that number is 90% ... . The first big take away was that it, you know, it’s a movement, and it’s going to happen.”
In May and June, 61 of the largest U.S. hospital and health sector companies (representing over 650 hospitals and thousands of other providers) committed to the Department of Health and Human Services and White House’s pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030. In July, ASHRAE published “ASHRAE Position Document on Building Decarbonization” and in August, ASHRAE and the International Code Council proposed a whole life carbon approach standard.
There is a direct tie between energy efficiency and decarbonization, as the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Better Buildings Initiative states: “When pursuing a decarbonization plan, DOE is encouraging partners to lead with energy efficiency. Energy not used is energy saved, making the transition to clean, renewable energy infrastructure easier.”
With the above in mind, we celebrate Energy Efficiency Day today knowing that approximately 1,000 local governments, universities, organizations, corporations (including Hanson) and utilities are participating, and we invite you to join us. As stated on the Energy Efficiency Day website, “October 5, 2022, is Energy Efficiency Day. But efficiency is year-round.”
The groundswell is starting, and it is up to all of us to keep it growing.
Reach out to Bill Bradford at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your energy efficiency goals.