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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
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
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
July 1, 2014
Public Hearing: Allegheny County Open Burning Regulations The Allegheny County Health Department will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, July 1 at 10 a.m. in the first floor conference room at Building #7 of the Clack Health Center, 301 39th Street, Lawrenceville, to take testimony on proposed … Learn More
June 6, 2014
Portraits of Air: Pittsburgh   What if you could easily see the invisible particles in the air you breathe?   It can happen through a visual arts exhibition opening next month in conjunction with the 2014 Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival.   From … Learn More
May 16, 2014
A Regional Summit on Asthma in Our Community You’d be hard pressed to find someone in the Pittsburgh area who doesn’t either have asthma or have a friend or loved one struggling with asthma.   What’s the connection between our region’s poor air quality and asthma–and what challenges … Learn More
April 4, 2014
Ride Against Smog and Pollution   Whether you hit the trails or the roads, bike riding in Pittsburgh is a fabulous way to see the sights, commute and get a little exercise–not to mention, it’s a zero-emissions form of transportation.   When you ride, you … Learn More
March 27, 2014
Save the Date: The Water-Energy Nexus Wasting water is like sending energy down the drain. That’s because water utilities use a tremendous amount of energy to treat and deliver water. Then after the water reaches your home or workplace, more energy is consumed to heat, cool … Learn More
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