Energy efficiency — try it: Alaskans could benefit from conservation 

Editorial by by Paul Reichardt for The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, June 26, 2011

A major news topic in Fairbanks in the past year or so has been the cost and availability of energy. Virtually all of us know someone who has either left or threatens to leave the community because of increased energy costs.

Those of us who intend to remain here have legitimate concerns about the future supply and cost of energy.

There are two responses to the situation: increase supply at reduced cost or use less energy. While both approaches have been promoted by public and private entities, the emphasis has been on producing more energy at reduced costs. We have lots of proposals — natural gas, Eva Creek, the Susitna/Watana Dam and Healy Clean Coal Plant among others — but no concrete prospects for any of these to come on line in the near future.

On the other hand, reducing our individual (and collective) energy use and expenses through energy efficiency can be achieved nearly instantly without massive infrastructure projects. In addition to our individual efforts, efficiency in schools and public buildings will reduce taxes; and bringing efficiency to local churches and nonprofits will allow them to put more of their money into making our community a better place. My hope is that the following account of efficiency actions we’ve taken in our home will encourage others to take actions to reduce energy consumption and to save significant amounts of money.

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