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Tougher Regional Energy Efficiency Goals Proposed: Would save money, reduce the need for more CPS Energy capacity

By Jim Forsyth
Monday, August 11, 2008
WOAI 1200 News Radio

Several organizations that oppose plans by CPS Energy to build two new units at the South Texas Nuclear Project said today that 'with vigorous and visionary leadership' the region could save twice as much energy through efficiency as the nuclear plants would generate, 1200 WOAI news reports.

"Improvements in insulation, air conditioning, lighting, and window shading can make homes and office buildings cooler and more comfortable, while putting people to work and saving money," said Dr. Arjun Makhijani, an electrical engineer at the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research.

Makhijani's appearance and his study were sponsored by the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition, a group which is fighting the effort by CPS Energy to build more nuclear generating capacity. The Alamo Group of the Sierra Club also joined in the study.

Makhijani said energy efficiency does not necessarily mean our standard of living or our ability o grow the regional economy will be endangered.

"If you look around the country, it's not the states with the greatest electricity consumption per capita which are the wealthiest, and the most prosperous," he said. He cited Silicon Valley of northern California, which is the center of the global high tech industry despite relatively low per capita electricity use.

Tenna Florian, an architect with Lake Flato Architects, a San Antonio firm which has long been committed to sustainable building, says some ideas for energy efficient buildings are simple.

"Things like light roofs that reflect light, instead of dark roofs that absorb light," she said.

Florian said incentives should be geared to the installation of energy efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, as well as energy saving devices like tankless water heaters.

Other proposals include upping the requirements attic insulation, expanding the use of solar energy, and educating landlords on the financial advantages of efficient electricity use.

Makhijani says with the region's fast growing economy, San Antonio could become a model for energy efficiency nationwide. He said a goal should be set of 30 to 40 percent of buildings being energy efficient by 2020 and 100 percent by 2030.

The environmental groups praised CPS Energy's current commitment to energy efficiency and challenged it to do more.

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