As President Obama noted on Tuesday in his State of the Union address, "the easiest way to save money is to waste less energy." It's also true that the cleanest energy in the world is energy that we don't use at all. Last week, I traveled to Des Moines, Iowa, to visit North High School, where the school district's energy upgrades have saved them 20 percent on their energy bills even as air conditioning in their classrooms has increased by 40 percent. Overall, Des Moines Public Schools saved $370,000 in energy costs last year alone – enough to pay the salary of almost 10 first-year teachers. At North High I met an outstanding group of students busy preparing for the future. They were clear that their renovated and upgraded school was creating a better learning environment.
North High's example is exactly the kind of smart investment in clean energy the President proposed in his State of the Union last week. He laid out a blueprint for an economy that's built to last—an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values. No American value is more fundamental than living up to the promise of our Nation's youth. We will continue to push for investing in modern, healthy school environments for our students, and training and programs that will help them succeed in the 21st century economy.
Nancy Sutley is Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality