Does Daylight Saving Time even save energy? Spring forward on energy efficiency anyways!

In 2008, The United States Department of Energy Department examined the impact of the extended Daylight Saving Time on energy consumption in the United States and found that Daylight Saving Time saved about 0.5% in total electricity per day. While this might not sound like a lot, it adds up to electricity savings of 1.3 billion kilowatt-hours—or the amount of electricity used by more than 100,000 households for an entire year.

Although Daylight Savings Time saves electricity used for lighting, another report from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the time change causes a tradeoff between reducing demand for lighting and increasing demand for heating and cooling, stating that Daylight Savings actually increases residential electricity demand.

Despite what experts argue, you can spring forward with energy savings on your own. Here are some easy-to-do spring energy savings tips:

Embrace the fresh spring air by cleaning your air conditioning/HVAC filters

Over the winter unused A/C units gather dust and debris, which can strain the components necessary to make your system work efficiently. This spring, remove any leaves and debris from inside and around your unit, ensure all the grills and vents are unobstructed, and replace your unit’s air filter to ensure your unit isn’t overworking and using excess electricity.

Look for the energy-efficient products when shopping

Looking to upgrade some appliances around the house for spring cleaning? Don’t simply look for the best deal on the shelf; you can save even more if you let energy efficiency drive your decision. In 2017 alone, ENERGY STAR and its partners helped Americans avoid $30 billion in energy costs. The next time you’re in the store or shopping online, look for the EPA’s WaterSense label or ENERGY STAR certification.

Retire those old light bulbs and replace them with LEDs

Increase the life of your light bulbs by investing in energy-efficient LED and CFL bulbs, which use 75-80% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and last 25 times longer. As your light bulbs need replacing, consider efficient light bulbs to save you energy and money! Easily find the LED lights you need on BuildingClean.org.

Adjust your smart thermostat to for spring

The weather is changing as we move into spring and so are our schedules. Since you will likely be spending more time outside the house, program your smart thermostat accordingly. You can save big by adjusting the temperature in the house a couple degrees while you’re sleeping or away. It’s hard to remember to do it every day; a smart thermostat can be programmed to remember when you are gone and take care of the hassle for you!

Use shades to block direct sunlight from heating your home

The sun is a great way to allow light and heat into your home during the winter months, but as outside temperatures rise the sun’s heat can become unbearable. Close your shades and blinds when you are away from home to block direct sunlight from beaming in and heating up your living space.

Let your dishwasher do the dishes, stop handwashing

Dishwashers consume less water per load than washing dishes by hand, 3 gallons instead of a whopping 27! Handwashing dishes can use up to 5,000 more gallons of water annually compared to using an Energy Star rated dishwasher. Quickly find certified, American-made dishwashers using BuildingClean.org.

Change your ceiling fan setting to run counterclockwise

When ceiling fans are moving counterclockwise they are pulling heat from the room towards the ceiling, allowing the cooler air to make the room more comfortable. If you switch your ceiling fan to clockwise in the winter to get the opposite effect, a winter energy efficiency best practice, make sure you switch it back in the spring.  A ceiling fan can make a room feel several degrees cooler, especially when used in conjunction with an air conditioner.

Building Clean Teams up With HPN Select to Help Affordable Housing Owners Find Local Building Products

“Through this partnership, HPN Select and its members will have access to important information about the sourcing of their building products. Using locally manufactured products not only supports local economies and grows jobs, but decreases the environmental impact of these projects,” said Lauren Asplen, Director of Healthy Sustainability Programs at the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation. “We are thrilled to be partnering with some of the best nonprofit developers in the nation.”

BuildingClean.org is an initiative of the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation and is dedicated to linking the energy, housing, job, and health sectors together in order to tap the benefits of energy efficiency for millions of low-income families. Building Clean has a database of U.S.-made, healthier energy efficient products designed to help architects and designers, consumers, contractors and developers, and manufacturers find products to help them capture the benefits of energy efficiency retrofits—including lower utility bills, improved tenant health, and increased economic development.

The mission of HPN Select is to provide high quality procurement solutions for the affordable housing sector. A Housing Partnership Network social enterprise, HPN Select focuses on delivering value-for-money contracts that achieve the right balance between price, quality, and service for its customers in order to give members greater financial capacity to fulfill their own mission related goals.

In addition to announcing the partnership, Building Clean and HPN Select announced that Select’s Vice President of Sustainability, Richard Kingston, would be presenting at the Building Clean 2019 Summit on November. 14, 2019 in Chicago. Registration for the summit is open and may be completed here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/building-clean-2019-tickets-70186470623

BlueGreen Alliance Applauds Inclusion of Buy America Provision in S.2800, America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018

In response, the BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from Executive Director Kim Glas:

“The BlueGreen Alliance is thrilled to see continued bipartisan support for this commonsense domestic content requirement. The permanent extension of Buy America in the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund is a win for U.S. workers, the environment, and the economy.

“Buy America provisions have a long-standing history of bolstering American manufacturing and creating quality, family-sustaining jobs in this country. Expanding these requirements permanently to the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund will ensure that the critical investments needed in America’s drinking water infrastructure will support and create family-sustaining jobs here at home, boost American manufacturing, and bolster the American economy.

“This bill notably also includes several provisions aimed at driving further water infrastructure investments, including natural infrastructure.  Our water infrastructure systems are in dire need of repair. Fixing them will ensure all Americans have access to clean, safe drinking water, protect public health, and create good jobs.”

Bluegreen Alliance Statement on U.S. House Introduction of the Buy America 2.0 Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 6, 2018) – “Strong domestic content requirements—like those in the Buy America 2.0 Act—are the right way to invest in and protect American workers. History shows us that Buy America policies work—they not only bolster American manufacturing and create quality, family-sustaining jobs in this country, but also better use American tax dollars and improve the environmental outcomes of major infrastructure projects.

“Expanding and enforcing robust Buy America policies is a win for U.S. workers, the environment, and the economy. When products are made in the U.S., we can be confidant that they are meeting environmental and labor standards. They are also historically safer, more reliable products. Additionally, strong domestic sourcing requirements help boost U.S. manufacturing and employment.

“We urge the House to act swiftly on what should be a bipartisan priority.”

BlueGreen Alliance Statement on Senate Democrats’ Jobs and Infrastructure Plan for America’s Workers

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 7, 2018) – Today, Senate Democrats unveiled a $1 trillion plan to strengthen and rebuild our nation’s infrastructure. The BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from Executive Director Kim Glas:

“We applaud Senate Democrats for proposing real investments in our nation’s infrastructure that would create millions of quality jobs while also building more efficient and resilient systems for generations to come.

“This infrastructure package crucially ensures the creation of quality, American jobs with the inclusion of Davis-Bacon prevailing wage provisions and expanded Buy America policies, and is aimed at accelerating projects while adhering to environmental protections, all of which will help to create good jobs in local communities across the country.

“Our Making the Grade 2.0 report showed that investments like these—in our water systems, energy grid, transportation infrastructure, and schools—can create millions of good jobs across our economy.

“We applaud Senate Democrats for putting forth this bold plan today. These are the kinds of investments and principles that should be adhered to in a bipartisan solution to repair the crumbling systems that we rely on every day.”

BlueGreen Alliance Statement on House Democrats’ Infrastructure Plan

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 8, 2018) – “The plan put forward by House Democrats includes much-needed investments in our nation’s infrastructure that will also create quality jobs and make our communities more sustainable and resilient. This blueprint provides a significant public investment and includes key measures like Davis-Bacon prevailing wage provisions to ensure the jobs created are family-sustaining jobs, Buy America provisions to support domestic manufacturing, and prioritizes making our communities and infrastructure systems more resilient.

“These are the kinds of job-creating policies we will be looking for in any plan released by the president in the near future. We need a bipartisan solution to repair these crumbling systems that we rely on every day and that solution must adhere to the principles put forward by House Democrats today.”

BlueGreen Alliance Statement on U.S. House Introduction of the Buy American Improvement Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 7, 2017) Today, U.S. Representative Dan Lipinski (IL-3), introduced the Buy American Improvement Act in the U.S. House. This bill would improve transparency and consistency in domestic content requirements for projects that use taxpayer dollars, and would expand Buy America provisions to a broader set of federal grant-making programs. Following the introduction of the bill, the BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from Executive Director Kim Glas:

“Strong domestic content requirements—like those in the Buy American Improvement Act—are the right way to invest in and protect American workers. We know that these types of policies work, not only to grow American manufacturing and the number of quality, family-sustaining jobs in this country, but also to better use American tax dollars and improve the environmental outcomes of major infrastructure projects.

“Expanding Buy America is a win for U.S. workers, the environment, and the economy. When products are made in the U.S., we can be confidant that they are meeting environmental and labor standards. They are also historically safer, more reliable products. Additionally, strong domestic sourcing requirements help boost U.S. manufacturing and employment. We urge the House to act swiftly on this bipartisan priority.”

Department of Energy’s $259 Million Loan Will Retool Alcoa Facility, Create 200 Jobs and Improve Fuel Efficiency

Labor, Environmental Leaders Applaud Commitment to Domestic Manufacturing and Competitiveness

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 26, 2015) – BlueGreen Alliance leaders from the United Steelworkers and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) today applauded a Department of Energy announcement of a $259 million loan that will help Alcoa retool what will become one of the largest automotive grade aluminum facilities in North America and add 200 good jobs. The company’s advanced aluminum products will be utilized to improve the fuel economy of millions of vehicles.

“The ATVM is a critical part of a renewed commitment to America’s manufacturing,” said United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard. “It will also help the United States achieve its environmental goals.”

The loan—carried out through the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program—makes it possible for the company to expand and upgrade its Tennessee facility to make specialized aluminum sheet for vehicles like the Ford-F150 pick-up truck, America’s best-selling vehicle. Products like aluminum and high strength steel make the F-150 lighter and more fuel efficient while remaining equally powerful.

“The UAW has been a strong supporter of the ATVM program from its inception. This program is critical for improving fuel efficiency and strengthening domestic manufacturing and increasing our nation’s competitiveness,” UAW President Dennis Williams said. “UAW members who proudly build the Ford F150 are utilizing lightweight aluminum to build the next generation of vehicles. The Department of Energy’s conditional loan to expand Alcoa’s factory in Tennessee will enhance the work of UAW members and will create more job security for them and manufacturing workers across the country.”

ATVM loans have previously helped retool 17 automotive assembly facilities such as the Dearborn Assembly Plant that manufactures the F-150. This program is one way the automotive industry is achieving the biggest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions ever undertaken in the U.S., and one of the largest achieved worldwide to date, while bringing back jobs and making powerful, globally competitive and much more fuel-efficient vehicles.

The ATVM program is designed to benefit a whole network of small, medium and large companies that support hundreds of thousands of jobs critical to America’s manufacturing industry. The DOE loan to Alcoa will also support 400 additional construction jobs.

“It’s exciting to see the many benefits this kind of fuel-efficiency technology can deliver. Lighter-weight materials such as aluminum will help cars and trucks achieve deep carbon emissions reductions and set a higher standard on protecting the environment for generations,” said Peter Lehner, Executive Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

To date the bipartisan program has provided over $8 billion in loans—matched by over $14 billion in private investment—to 18 facilities in eight states. Those facilities in turn have supported thousands of suppliers.

View the BlueGreen Alliance’s fact sheet on ATVM here.

“It’s not enough to use the latest, best, cleanest technology, we have to re-invest in the people, plants, and technology in order to realize the all of the benefits manufacturing advanced vehicles have to offer,” said Kim Glas, BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director.

Testimony of Yvette Pena Lopes to the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade

The American manufacturing sector forms a cornerstone of our national economy, providing nearly 12 million good-paying jobs for middle-class families across the country. Yet, the economic downturn and years of shifting production took a significant toll on U.S. manufacturers and their workers. An estimated 5.5 million manufacturing jobs were lost over the last decade. America has begun to change this, adding back more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs since the beginning of 2010, but much more needs to be done to bring these jobs back and ensure that American manufacturing—and the steel industry in particular—are drivers of America’s 21st century clean economy.

BlueGreen Alliance Recommends Five Key Actions to Bolster American Manufacturing

BlueGreen Alliance Recommends Five Key Actions to Bolster American Manufacturing

WASHINGTON, DC (March 21, 2013) – Today BlueGreen Alliance Deputy Director, Yvette Pena Lopes made five key recommendations to lawmakers regarding the future of America’s manufacturing sector before the House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade. The full text of the testimony is available here.

“Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member and Members of the Subcommittee, I am Yvette Pena Lopes, Deputy Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. On behalf of my organization, our fourteen national labor and environmental partners and the estimated 15 million members and supporters they represent, I want to thank you for holding this hearing today.

“We appreciate the invitation to testify and are honored to join the other panelists from the Congressional Steel Caucus and the steel industry, in particular the CEOs of ArcelorMittal; Allegheny Technologies; and Evraz, who are each valued members of the BlueGreen Alliance’s Corporate Advisory Council.

“The United Steelworkers and the Sierra Club founded the BlueGreen Alliance in 2006, and have since grown to incorporate 12 other labor and environmental organizations to create an Alliance built with a wide variety of priorities and backgrounds.  Our partners have come together to move America towards a 21st century clean economy, and manufacturing has consistently been a major focus of our Alliance.

“The economic downturn and years of shifting manufacturing production took a significant toll on U.S. manufacturers and their workers.  America has begun to change this, but much more needs to be done to bring these jobs back and ensure that American manufacturing — and the steel industry in particular — are drivers of America’s 21st century clean economy.

“To achieve this rebirth, we must implement the following five drivers of American manufacturing:

“First, we must rebuild our nation’s infrastructure. Investments in our infrastructure can yield tremendous benefits, including jobs and expanded demand in our domestic steel sector.

“One out of every four of the nation’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, nearly a quarter of the nation’s bus and rail infrastructure is in marginal or poor condition.

“Across the country, 700,000 tons of steel plate is used annually in bridge and building construction projects. If a properly structured infrastructure program is implemented, job creation for the manufacturing sector could clear 250,000 new jobs.

“Second, we must deploy more industrial energy efficiency. Energy efficiency leverages productivity and power from resources that, in many cases, would otherwise literally vanish into thin air.

“When combined with smart policies aimed at minimizing the economic impact to power providers, efficiency gains can be a win for manufacturers, utilities, workers, consumers, and the environment.

“Third, we must integrate more advanced transportation and clean energy into our economy. Whether it is more efficient technology and advanced materials for automobiles, commercial-scale wind turbines, or rail lines, steel is a necessary component for these industries that will drive the 21st century.

“Last year, the Obama administration set forth the strongest clean car standards in a generation.  Making conventional technology significantly more efficient and using advanced materials to make our cars stronger yet lighter which will make the biggest contributions toward getting the American vehicle fleet to 54.5 miles per gallon over the next 12 years.

“Over the next decade, an estimated $2.3 trillion will be invested in clean technologies. However, according to Ernst and Young the U.S. renewable energy investment climate is losing attractiveness while countries like China and Germany are gaining ground.

“Existing policy support for clean energy does not provide adequate long-term certainty for the industry to succeed. We must implement long-term policy certainty.

“Fourth, we must ensure products and components are made in America. Buy America policies reflect where the jobs are, not where the manufacturing companies are headquartered or incorporated. This approach ensures that taxpayer dollars are reinvested in jobs and communities here at home.

“Fifth, we must continue to support research and development. Manufacturing is responsible for 70 percent of all private-sector research and development spending and 90 percent of all American patents.

The Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office recently launched the Innovative Manufacturing Initiative. One of the projects selected was a partnership between DOE, Arcellor Mittal, U.S. Steel and others to produce Flash Iron-making technology, which is a cleaner, coke-free way to produce iron from abundant domestic iron ore concentrates and natural gas, with 32-57 percent improved energy productivity.

“We must continue to support R&D such as this, as well as the work being done at the Department of Commerce.

“Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member, and fellow Members of the Subcommittee we truly believe that these five measures will go a long way toward helping America and its workers reinvigorate the steel sector, U.S. manufacturing, and the middle class AND move America to a clean economy, while ensuring that we continue to address climate change.

“Once again, thank you for the opportunity to testify today.”

Gillibrand and Rahall American Manufacturing Bills Are Win-Win for Jobs, Economy

WASHINGTON, DC (March 5, 2013) In a growing show of support for “Buy America” policies  — which promote the purchase of U.S.-made goods when spending tax dollars — Congressman Nick Rahall (WV) today introduced legislation to ensure Federal transportation and infrastructure investments support American jobs. Similarly, Senator Gillibrand (NY) last week introduced Senate legislation to strengthen U.S. manufacturing. BlueGreen Alliance applauded the bicameral push to expand commitments to American manufacturing that will rebuild the economy and create jobs in communities across the country.

“With gains of half a million jobs since 2009, victories in the American manufacturing industry have helped to rally the economy,” said David Foster, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “Innovation and investment are fueling this economic engine. Today, we’re still not doing everything we can to maximize American job creation and economic benefits, but the priorities laid out by Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Rahall help to get us there.”

The Invest in American Jobs Act introduced by Rep. Rahall closes loopholes that have allowed manufacturing in major transportation projects to be outsourced by strengthening existing Buy America requirements for transportation investments, applying Buy America requirements to rail infrastructure grants, loans, and loan guarantees for example and by requiring Federal agencies to justify proposed waivers of the Buy America requirements.

Sen. Gillibrand’s bill, called the Made in America Manufacturing Act, creates a competitive program that awards states and regions with funding to support local manufacturers through low-interest loans to build new facilities. In addition, it will aid in the upgrading of equipment and the access to capital and technical assistance to develop exporting opportunities and to connect innovative small suppliers with larger companies.

Manufacturing jobs have high indirect job creation benefits. On average, each manufacturing job supports 2.5 jobs in other sectors, and, at the upper end, each high-tech manufacturing job supports up to 16 jobs in the US economy. These jobs pay 21 percent more in wages and benefits than the average wage, and they more often provide health, pension, and other benefits. Continued Congressional support of the Buy America statutes will ensure continued compliance with high environmental standards in federally funded projects while creating valuable American jobs.

“The bottom line is that Buy America provisions ensure taxpayers’ money benefits the U.S. economy, first and foremost. Our proud history of producing the highest quality products demands that we also have policies that also don’t sell our own economic interests short,” said Foster.

BlueGreen Alliance Appointed to Advisory Panel to the President on Improving U.S. Manufacturing Competitiveness

WASHINGTON, DC (January 16, 2013) – BlueGreen Alliance Senior Policy Analyst Brian Lombardozzi  has been appointed to  the Secretary of Commerce’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RE&EE) Advisory Committee, an interagency effort aimed at significantly increasing RE&EE exports in support of the President’s National Export Initiative. As part of the 37 member committee that represents a broad cross-section of the RE&EE industry, the BlueGreen Alliance will provide the key voice of both our country’s labor and environmental organizations on how we can meet the ambitious goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014 to support millions of jobs here at home.

“Americans are beginning to manufacture more and more of the most in-demand renewable energy technologies in the world,” said BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director David Foster. “There’s more that we can be doing though. Putting our heads together on all the ways we can take advantage of manufacturing the products that will support the green economy of today and tomorrow is smart policy. We applaud President Obama for moving forward with this strategic vision.”

The committee will advise and provide recommendations to the United States Department of Commerce Secretary on matters concerning:

  • Competitiveness issues facing U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency exports;
  • Development and administration of programs and policies to expand U.S. renewable energy;
  • Trade policy negotiations relating to U.S. energy efficiency exports; and
  • Policies of foreign governments impacting the export of U.S. energy services and technologies.

The committee was launched in 2010 to support the U.S. government’s strong commitment to the competitiveness of U.S. clean energy exporters globally. The committee’s scope includes a focus on solar energy, wind energy and energy efficiency.