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Going Green and Saving Green

The White House Council on Environmental Quality answers a question from Twitter on how the U.S. is going green without raising the deficit.

Ed. Note: Everyday the White House gets a lot of questions via Twitter. Yesterday, @WhiteHouse was asked: 

Going green is good, but costly, how is the US going to go ‘green’ energy without raising the deficit?

Check out the response from the White House Council on Environmental Quality and follow us on Twitter for the latest news from the White House and opportunities to engage with us.

When President Obama spoke to Americans in his State of the Union Address, he laid out a plan to take responsibility for our deficit by investing in what makes America stronger, and cutting what doesn’t.  And he recognized that to win the future, we must make America the best place on earth to do business and invest in a strong, modern clean energy economy. 

As long as our economy relies on oil, we will pay the price – not just in dollars spent on a finite source of energy, but also in dollars lost in a missed opportunity to become the world’s leading provider of clean energy technology. Instead of being satisfied with the energy resources of our past, we must push ourselves to create the next generation of sustainable, affordable energy solutions. 

Sustainable practices -- like investing in energy efficient technologies -- save money in the long run.  If the U.S. became 20 percent more energy efficient, we would save more than $200 billion each year.  Here are a few cost-saving programs already underway:

  • The Better Buildings Initiative: The President’s Better Buildings Initiative which includes new and expanded incentives for building efficiency – would improve commercial building efficiency 20% by 2020 and help reduce energy costs for American business by $40 billion.
  • HOMESTAR Program of Rebates Delivered Directly to Consumers: The Administration continues to advocate for the consumer-friendly HOMESTAR program. Like the Cash for Clunkers program, consumers would be eligible for direct HOMESTAR rebates at the point of sale for a variety of energy-saving investments in their homes.
  • A Framework for Continued Growth: The “Recovery through Retrofit” initiative led by the Council on Environmental Quality and Vice President’s Middle Class Taskforce identified market-based solutions to help the energy efficiency industry overcome long-standing barriers. These policies will improve access to information about home energy use and to affordable financing, and will also help create a skilled and certified retrofit workforce.

The Federal Government is putting these principles into action in its own operations. By meeting just one of the sustainability targets President Obama has set for Federal agencies, the government will avoid up to $11 billion in energy costs by 2020.  We are also using the Federal government’s purchasing power to support American ingenuity and build the healthy and prosperous country of tomorrow.

Sahar Wali is Communications Director at the White House Council on Environmental Quality