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In his State of the Union address last week, President Obama called for a 50 percent reduction in the amount of energy wasted by our homes and buildings over the next 20 years. He proposed providing resources for the most effective state policies to cut energy waste.

 

It may not be glamorous, but it sure came as good news to all of us at the Breathe Project, as energy efficiency is a major piece of the clean air puzzle. Consuming less energy means reduced combustion of fossil fuels, which in turn, helps to improve our air quality.

 

According to the U.S. EPA, buildings accounted for 38.9 percent of total U.S. energy consumption in 2005. Residential buildings accounted for 53.7 percent of that total, while commercial buildings accounted for the other 46.3 percent. Buildings are expected to account for 75 percent of our electricity consumption by 2025, the EPA estimates, and the average household spends at least $2,000 each year on energy bills.

 

A good number of our coalition partners are working to reduce energy consumption themselves—or helping other businesses, organizations and households become more energy efficient; it’s a win-win for air quality and their bottom line.

 

In a free workshop on February 22, Pop City Media and Direct Energy will provide ways for nonprofits to save money by reducing energy costs. Attendees will learn smart strategies to conserve energy and resources—and also be eligible to win $2,500 from Direct Energy through its Reduce Your Use For Good campaign.

 

ReEnergize Pgh—an initiative of GTECH Strategies—is creating jobs and reducing residential energy waste by organizing teams of “ambassadors” for energy efficiency in communities throughout Allegheny County.

 

Pittsburgh Green House in East Liberty holds regular workshops and sessions on residential energy and water savings and making homes healthier. This month, they will host a home water conversation workshop (saving water helps to clean our air by reducing energy consumption) and another session on how to integrate energy upgrades into the home remodeling process.

 

And Sustainable Pittsburgh will soon launch its 2013 Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge, which calls on businesses and organizations in southwestern Pennsylvania to reduce their energy and water use through a friendly competition.

 

We’d love to hear what your organization is doing to increase its energy efficiency—and improve our air quality. Send us your stories to highlight on our website and so we can share best practices with other coalition partners. We look forward to hearing about your successes!

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events
October 18, 2014
2014 Pittsburgh Solar Tour   Most Pittsburgh house tours showcase beautiful interiors, tasteful design, and the glitz and glamour of bygone eras. The 2014 Pittsburgh Solar Tour is a home tour for the new Pittsburgh.   Join PennFuture to experience raw solar power, energy … Learn More
October 7, 2014
“Sustainability Pioneers” Documentary Premiere   How can Pittsburgh be a leader in building the bridge from our fossil fuel-based economy to an economy based on renewable energy and sustainable living?   Filmmaker and journalist Kirsi Jansa asks this question–arguably the most critical challenge of our … Learn More
October 7, 2014
Smoke Gets Into Your Eyes (Lungs too!)   For the third presentation in the series “Climate Change Here and Now,” scientist Ellis Robinson will investigate the origins and effects of atmospheric particles—unavoidable byproducts of the way our society creates and uses energy.   Robinson is a recent … Learn More
October 5, 2014
Save the Date: Clean Air Dash 5K Save the date and start logging those training miles! The Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) second annual Clean Air Dash 5K on the South Side’s Three Rivers Heritage Trail will be here before you know it. The fast, flat and … Learn More
September 27, 2014
Trade Your Old Woodstove for Gift Cards   The Allegheny County Health Department is offering county residents cash incentives to once again dispose of old wood stoves and outdoor wood-fired boilers that do not meet current national emissions standards. The collection event will be held on Saturday, … Learn More
August 24, 2014
Breathe Project Family Ride at PedalPGH   Biking is a zero-emissions way to get around the city that’s good for the body and for our air quality. In celebration of Pittsburgh as a safe, bicycle-friendly city, we are proud to sponsor the Breathe Project Family Ride at Bike … Learn More
July 31, 2014
EPA to Hold Pittsburgh Hearings on Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will hold public hearings for the Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule the week of July 28 in four locations across the U.S., including Pittsburgh. The hearings will provide interested parties the opportunity to present data, … Learn More
July 17, 2014
Clean Water Action to Host N.Y. Group with Big Victory in Fight for Cleaner Air Clean Water Action this week is hosting members of the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York (CACWNY) to share their story of community effort to reduce harmful emissions from the Tonawanda Coke plant, an industrial facility with a heinous … Learn More
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