The Fight On Energy Efficiency?

photo by: alyssa We were wondering if you’ve heard of Blackle? A new Google search page in black, created by Heap Media. Their idea is that having a black screen on your computer can cut electricity demand. Seemingly insignificant? Blackle was also created to “remind us all of the need to take small steps in our everyday lives to save energy.” I wonder if this might be more effective then the actual energy savings but according to Ecolron a white web page uses about 74 watts to display, while an all black page uses only 59 watts. There is much dispute. Please, tell us what you think. Could this be "green-washing"?

On a local level the fight for energy efficiency is hitting much harder. This just came to me via email with the following concerns from the Green Building Institute. Thanks Janice Romanosky for sending it along:

A key committee in the Maryland House of Delegates will decide this week whether to divert $70 million away from energy efficiency program to bill-payer assistance. The committee will vote as early as Wednesday, so it couldn’t be more urgent. Please call AND fax the Delegates in the areas where you work and urge them to keep the energy efficiency funding in the Strategic Energy Investment Fund as it was passed into law last year.


· Baltimore County – Del. Susan Aumann – (410) 841-3258, fax (410) 841-3163

· Baltimore City – Del. Talmadge Branch – (410) 841-3398, fax (410) 841-3550

· Charles County – Del. Murray Levy – (410) 841-3325, fax (410) 841- 3367

· Montgomery County – Bill Bronrott – (410) 841-3642, fax (410) 841-3026

Please also pass this message along to former clients or colleagues who also believe that energy efficiency is an important part of Maryland’s energy future.


The Strategic Energy Investment Program is funded by the auction of emission allowances as part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. After considerable debate and compromise, last year’s statute creating this program directed 46% of the funds toward energy efficiency, 14% toward the creation and administration of related clean energy programs, and the remaining 40% toward ratepayer relief and targeted low income assistance.

This year’s Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (HB101/SB 166) contains a dramatic shift in energy policy, resulting in $35 million diverted from energy efficiency programs to the Electric Universal Service Program. Advisors to the General Assembly even recommended diverting all of the energy efficiency funding to EUSP. While direct assistance to help families in arrears with their utility bills is essential, we are causing harm if we lessen our commitment to basic energy efficiency improvements. Many low income citizens of Maryland need assistance plugging holes in their houses. If we pay their bills without fixing the leaks, we are wasting taxpayer dollars. Instead, we need to fully fund energy efficiency programs. Not only will the low income community benefit from energy audits, weatherization, programmable thermostats, and high efficiency light bulbs, but the entire state will benefit when people are put to work performing these services and manufacturing these products.

Maryland’s energy efficiency programs will spur new job creation, create opportunities for manufacturers and position Maryland to take advantage of emerging technologies and opportunities that come as a result of the Federal stimulus package, such as energy-efficient building, construction, and retrofits, energy audits and renewable electric power and smart grid technologies.

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