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Secretary Chu Gets His Green On

October 25, 2010 - 1:32pm


It's not every day that you get to ask a question about home energy efficiency of a Nobel Prize winning physicist who also just happens to be the current Secretary of Energy. But not long ago, a few lucky folks got to do just that. Earlier this month, Secretary of Energy Dr. Steven Chu invited regular folks to submit their questions on home energy efficiency to the Department of Energy via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube video, carrier pigeon, or whatever means they could. The incentive? A few questions would be chosen to receive a personal response from the Secretary himself. And, just a few weeks ago, Secretary Chu sat down and answered those questions. You can see a video of this Q&A session through the Department of Energy's Energy Blog.

I sat down and watched the video this morning and found it really informative—even for someone who knows a little bit about efficiency issues. One of the best parts of the video was about half way through (the question starts around 7:16) when Secretary Chu is asked, "What saves more energy and water—washing dishes by hand or using Energy Star dishwasher?" His somewhat surprising answer: "Oh, no comparison. Use a dishwasher." As a dishwasher lover, I appreciated the energy-saving validation—and I'll be quick to pass on the video to my girlfriend who's been futilely trying to convince her husband to install a dishwasher in their kitchen for years. As Secretary Chu put it, dishwashers "save water, save energy, and you don't get dishpan hands."

While I loved the bit on dishwashers, I would have to say that I most appreciated the last question Secretary Chu tackled: to articulate in one sentence "the importance of home energy efficiency in changing the clean energy landscape." This one really gets to the heart of what Energy Savers (and the Energy Savers blog) are all about—bringing energy efficiency to the place you call home. But how to make clear the importance of home energy savings? In Secretary Chu's words, "Homes in America use more than 20% of all the energy we use." This means that even a small reduction in home energy usage could meaningfully reduce the amount of energy used by the United States as a whole.

So, what are we waiting for? Let's head on over to the Energy Savers Web site, and start saving!