By Jaime Villarino-Eilenberger
Weather records show that Reno is warming faster than any other city in America. On top of that, the city just made it through the hottest summer ever, following a 2017 that was also record-breaking. That’s why it’s so important that cities, state and local leaders, and private industry are working together to be more sustainable and, in particular, to use energy more efficiently.
Reducing energy use is a critical component of the strategy to reduce carbon pollution, but the great thing is that you don’t have to agree on the science of climate change to see the value in using energy efficiently. We can all agree spending less on utility bills while boosting our economy is worthwhile. Other benefits include reducing smog and health problems that come from fossil fuel pollution. Cleaner air and water strengthen our outdoor economy and help keep places like Lake Tahoe pristine.
On Oct. 5, the city of Reno will recognize Energy Efficiency Day and highlight its efforts to make smart energy decisions that save money and the environment while building a strong local economy. In the private sector, we’re doing the same, helping companies operate more sustainably and invest in operations and facilities that are as efficient as possible – on Energy Efficiency Day and every day.
For example, the city of Reno and partners from the private sector have launched ReEnergize Reno, an ambitious program to lower the energy use of commercial, industrial, and multifamily buildings by 20 percent by 2025. In Reno, commercial buildings account for the lion’s share of carbon emissions (38 percent). Cost-effective and often very simple efficiency improvements can make these buildings better places to work while increasing revenue and reducing environmental impact: the triple bottom line.
In May, the city of Reno held its first Green Buildings Award ceremony, recognizing the companies and organizations who are acting on energy efficiency – among them, the Glenn Group, Harrah’s Reno Hotel and Casino, the University of Nevada, and the VA Hospital. As members of the US Green Building Council, we applaud the work of these leaders and many others to establish a solid foundation for smart energy efficiency investments in the community.
Federal estimates show that every dollar spent on energy efficiency multiplies to $2.23 spent in the local economy. More than 2.2 million Americans are already working to make our energy use more efficient and lower bills, including more than 10,000 Nevadans. We’re proud participants in the energy efficiency industry.
We hope you’ll join us and the city of Reno in celebrating Energy Efficiency Day by learning about ways you can reduce your own energy use. A variety of programs can help you find opportunities to conserve and reduce the price of improvements. Whether it’s saving Reno from hotter August nights or saving money every month, we can make a big difference by working together.
Jaime Villarino-Eilenberger is sustainability manager for Leading Edge Consulting Services, which advises private companies on sustainability and green building practices.