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November 22, 2010 - 11:52am


This past weekend, my wife’s family came to town to help us celebrate Thanksgiving a little early. It gave me a chance to reflect on the things for which I’m grateful, and there are lots of them.

I believe most of us give thanks for our families, our friends, and those things—whatever they may be—that make our life happier, more meaningful and worth living.

But while the mood’s on me, I’d also give thanks for the engineers and researchers who have made energy efficiency a reality over the past few decades. Our nation uses vastly less energy than we expected we’d be using, back in the 1970s when the public first began to realize energy is a resource. Higher gas prices drove a handful of thoughtful, forward-looking and tech-savvy folks to think how we might do more with less. They succeeded, they continue to succeed, and we’re all reaping the rewards of their hard work.

And what’s the result? Rulings that require that appliance makers improve their energy efficiency over time. Energy Star® appliances, which use even less energy than that. Homes with better insulation and windows, cars with better batteries and lighter construction, offices and schools with smart controls and better weatherproofing.

There are people out there who are probably grateful for the weatherization programs sponsored by the Department of Energy, improving existing homes and keeping down the energy bills of the families who live in them.

It’s possible you’ll never meet one of these scientists, engineers, or technicians, but we all owe them a debt of thanks.

In this season of families, football and feasting, let’s take a minute and say thanks for the many people who make our lives more comfortable and energy efficient. Now pass the cranberry sauce!