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USEA/Johnson Controls Energy Efficiency Forum

June 11, 2008 - 1:30pm

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Remarks as Prepared for Secretary Bodman

Thank you, Barry, for that kind introduction.

I want to thank Johnson Controls and USEA for sponsoring this event and for continuing to draw attention to the critical importance of improving energy efficiency throughout our nation and around the world.

I also want to take a moment to thank you for earlier today recognizing our Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Andy Karsner.  He has done a tremendous job in changing the way we bring government-sponsored research and development into the marketplace, and I am confident his efforts to accelerate the commercialization of advanced technology will have a lasting impact for years to come.

When we look across our global energy landscape and consider the formidable challenges we face today, it is clear we must make pervasive and long-term changes.  We must bring more renewable energy online and aggressively deploy alternative fuels.  We must develop traditional hydrocarbon resources in ways that are cleaner and more efficient.

We must expand access to safe and emissions-free nuclear power in a way that responsibly manages waste and reduces proliferation risks.  And, underlying all of this, we must fundamentally change the way we use energy.

This must occur within every sector of our economy and in economies around the world.  I just returned from a meeting in Japan of the G8 plus China, India and Korea a group of countries that collectively account for about 65 percent of global energy consumption and energy efficiency was a major topic of discussion at the meeting.

One of the outcomes of the meeting was what we believe to be a significant step toward facilitating international cooperation in this area: the establishment of the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation or IPEEC.

The IPEEC will serve as a high-level forum for facilitating a broad range of actions that yield high efficiency gains.  The partnership will support the on-going work of the participating countries and relevant organizations by providing a venue to exchange information on best practices, policies, and measures.

When considering increases in energy efficiency, often the first place people look is the transportation sector and with good reason.  The opportunities for enhancements in our global transportation sector are immense.

The President clearly recognizes this.  Through his Twenty in Ten Initiative, the President set a goal of reducing gasoline consumption by 20 percent in 10 years through unprecedented elevation and modernization of vehicle efficiency standards, increased efficiency and greater reliance on clean alternative fuels.

In fact, by signing into law the Energy Independence and Security Act, the President has set this nation on a course to achieve fuel economy standards of 35 miles per gallon by 2020 an increase of 40 percent that will save billions of gallons of fuel and substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The opportunities for efficiency improvements are also vast in areas beyond the transportation sector.

First, it is clear that the greatest opportunity for efficiency gains is in the utility sector how we power our homes and businesses.  A fundamental premise of our approach here is that efficiency does not need to come at the expense of profitability.

That is why we believe it is critical to expand and accelerate support for the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency, which recommends a comprehensive set of energy efficiency measures that could save $20 billion annually on consumers' energy bills.

At the same time, we are also focusing on our utilities' biggest customers our industrial plants and manufacturing facilities that are so critical to our nation's economic competitiveness.

And here there is good progress to report.  In 2005, the Department launched the "Save Energy Now" campaign, an effort to improve energy efficiency at industrial facilities through expert energy assessments.  Through this program, energy experts have helped companies identify opportunities to save over an estimated 80 trillion BTUs of natural gas roughly equivalent to the natural gas used in over one million American homes more than $800 million in potential energy savings.

If all of the recommendations from these assessments are fully implemented by the industrial facilities, the Department estimates that 7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions will be saved annually.  I'm proud to note that we just recently completed the 500th Energy Saving Assessment.

A third area of opportunity is the so-called "built environment" our homes and commercial buildings, which generate 40 percent of our nation's greenhouse gas emissions.  Here the Department is engaged in an effort to evaluate and strengthen building codes.

We are partnering with ASHRAE the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers to develop model building codes that will be 30 percent more stringent by 2010 for ALL new commercial buildings standards the federal government already has to meet.

And, earlier this year, the Department launched the Builders Challenge, a program to recruit residential construction firms to build 220,000 high-performance homes by 2012.  To date, more than 150 builders and 70 partners have taken the Challenge and are using the EnergySmart Home Scale to rate and label home energy performance the same way we do now for appliances and electronics.

A fourth area of focus is reducing energy consumption by making appliance standards more stringent, and by accelerating the market penetration of advanced lighting and appliances.   We've set an ambitious schedule to eliminate what is unfortunately a multi-year backlog on appliance standards and will implement new standards for more than 18 appliances over the next five years.

For example, in March, the Department announced more stringent criteria for ENERGY STAR clothes washers.  Based on first-year projected sales data, approximately 1.9 million of these products will be sold, saving American families up to $92.4 million annually on their water and utility bills.

We're making great strides in the area of lighting efficiency.  Building on the Energy Star solid-state lighting criteria announced last year, earlier this year we announced up to $20.6 million in funding for solid-state lighting research and development.  In March, we expanded the categories of compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFL) under the ENERGY STAR label, to include products that contain less mercury and more rigorous testing procedures.  ENERGY STAR CFLs are expected to save Americans approximately $30 billion in utility costs over the next five years.

And in April, the Department announced new ENERGY STAR criteria for water heaters, the first in the history of the program.  According to DOE projections, by the end of the fifth year in effect, the new water heater criteria are expected to save Americans approximately $780 million in utility costs, avoid 4.2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, and achieve cumulative energy savings of more than 3.9 billion kilowatt-hours.

But our focus is not only on newly constructed buildings and new appliances.  We also must continue to look for ways to retrofit existing buildings, such as through the Department's EnergySmart Schools program aimed at improving the efficiency of the nation's K-12 schools and the DOE/EPA Home Performance with Energy Star program that helps homeowners cost-effectively improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

Our nation's military bases also offer a tremendous opportunity for energy efficiency improvements.  On Earth Day, I was proud to be at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina to help launch "Operation Change Out," a joint effort of the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense aimed at replacing inefficient, incandescent light bulbs with Energy Star-qualified bulbs.

While I was there, I had the opportunity to change out the 17,500th light bulb - an impressive milestone.  I'm pleased to report that their efforts are being replicated at other military bases across the country.

At the federal level, as the largest energy consumer in the U.S, the government has a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to lead by example with smart and efficient energy management.  President Bush recognized this by issuing an Executive Order last year that directed all federal agencies to cut their energy consumption by 30 percent.

I committed the Department of Energy to meet or exceed this mandate through our Transformational Energy Action Management, or TEAM, Initiative.  Through projects soon to be under contract as a result of recent audits at our largest energy-using sites, we expect to obtain private financing for over $400 million in energy improvements that will deliver at least a 20% reduction in energy intensity and ensure that new on-site renewable generation accounts for 4% of our electricity production well on our way to meeting the President's goals.

With TEAM, the Department of Energy is leading the way within the federal sector to meet the most ambitious federal energy efficiency goals to date.

One example in this effort is our Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which is the largest LEED-certified campus in the South and has 6 new buildings constructed to LEED standards.  Seventy million dollars in efficiency improvements and installation and upgrades of renewable energy sources at the Lab will reduce fossil fuel consumption by over 80 percent and cut energy intensity by 30 percent resulting in guaranteed annual energy savings of $6 million.

Just yesterday, Oak Ridge received the prestigious White House Closing the Circle Award for its "green transportation" initiative, which includes a pedestrian-friendly campus; shared transportation options; fuel-efficient traffic flow features; an expanded flex fuel vehicle fleet; and use of bio-diesel.  The success of these initiatives was made possible by the great team assembled by Oak Ridge and Johnson Controls congratulations.

And finally, I will close by highlighting what I believe to be one of the most important elements of a successful comprehensive energy strategy: a national imperative to act.  And here I believe we have every reason to be optimistic.  Perhaps as never before, the American people are calling for action and taking action themselves.

Because the truth is we can all do more.  I'm talking about things like: turning off computers and other electronic devices when they're not in use; switching to energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs; carpooling or taking public transportation; keeping current with car maintenance and keeping tires properly inflated.

It's also things like asking your local electric utility about the availability of smart meters, which enable you to shift some of your energy usage to off-peak periods.  And, if you own a business, consider participating in an energy assessment program or encouraging your employer to do so.  Though taken alone, these actions may seem minor, if done consistently; they can have an impact in precisely the right direction taking immediate pressure off demand.  Indeed, they are at the heart of a major shift in how this nation consumes energy.

I believe we are seeing a growing commitment to energy efficiency, not just for financial reasons but out of a real and admirably strong sense of responsibility for the health of our shared environment. To be sure, Americans want an affordable energy future, but they also want and are demanding a clean, safe, efficient energy future as well.  And, that is really where our focus is and must remain.

Thank you for taking part in this very timely forum and for inviting me here today.

Location: National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

Media contact(s): Jennifer Scoggins, (202) 586-4940

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