Lane Burt

Lane Burt is the Manager of Building Energy Policy with the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, DC. He is an engineer and works on federal efficiency policies and green building issues. Lane writes about energy policy on NRDC's Switchboard blog.

How Energy Efficient is a Doublewide? (Not very)

Have you ever stopped to think about the energy efficiency of a doublewide?  DOE is about to do just that, having initiated a rulemaking to develop mandatory standards for manufactured homes (basically a building code) under order from Congress to finish by 2011.  I just drafted and submitted NRDC’s comments to the docket. Most people haven’t given the issue any thought, but the inefficiency of manufactured housing is something that really sets me off.  Like pound my head into a desk, scream into a pillow frustrated. Why?  Well, basically these homes can be terribly inefficient (and in some cases just …

Is it really a win-win-win?

Home Star gets a hearing

Home Star: Creates jobs! Slashes energy use! Saves money! All of that was said yesterday and more, during a hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The Congressional Research Service, the Department of Energy, and a collection of business, utility, and state advocates all testified yesterday along those lines.  Home Star is a $6 billion proposal that would create incentives for homeowners who choose to make their homes more efficient. Silver Star would offer rebates for individual measures like insulating your attic or installing an efficient new furnace (capped at $3,000 but always requiring at least a 50 …

A $22 Billion Decision on Water Heaters? Tell DOE to do the right thing

Most of us only think about water heaters when forced to take a cold shower – shudder – but those boring tanks in the basement actually account for up to 25% of the energy used in your home.  No surprise then that the current rulemaking on new federal minimum standards for water heaters would turn out to be one of the big ones. Take Action Tell DOE to set the water heater standard that will save consumers $22 billion dollars over 30 years.  Who doesn’t like a hot shower that’s cheaper and uses less energy?  Once you follow the link …

State of the Union: Inefficient

The State of the Union is in a few hours, and folks are abuzz about what the president will say. Count me among those who are expecting a strong push for clean energy to create jobs and jump-start our economy, but I wonder if the president will spend much time discussing where we are right now as a country. There is one word that comes to mind when I think of the state of our union: inefficient. We waste energy and money in our homes and workplaces as if we had an infinite supply of both. Just consider the situation …

President Obama to talk “Cash for Caulkers”

On Tuesday morning, President Obama is expected to add details to a new program that will create jobs and cut needless energy consumption through home retrofits. This follows Obama’s request to Congress last week to create a new program to provide incentives to home owners who retrofit their homes to be more energy efficient. I am lucky enough to be able to attend the announcement, which is expected to take place at 11 a.m. at the Home Depot in Alexandria, VA. The President has rightly identified retrofits as a way to put Americans to work saving Americans money. Not only …

New Agreement on Standards for Outdoor Lights Announced

The Natural Resources Defense Council, along with our fellow efficiency advocates, announced the results of successful negotiations with the lighting industry on standards for street lights and parking lot lights. Standards on outdoor lights are such a no-brainer because these lights stay on through the entire night. Daylight Saving Time brings an early end to the day and an early start to burning electricity for streetlights. More efficient technologies pay off quickly in this high use application and the savings rack up. Thanks to this standard, you will save money everywhere you drive or park your car. The lights along …

How bright is Energy Star?

New reports show successes and failures of Energy Star

The media has been taking the Department of Energy (DOE) to task over a recently released audit by the Inspector General (IG) which highlighted some well known shortcomings in the Energy Star program. The conclusions were not surprising — there needs to be more testing of products to ensure compliance with Energy Star requirements and the efficiency levels required may be too weak. The new DOE has vowed to take care of these problems, and in fact the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and DOE, which jointly manage Energy Star, agreed to increased testing and quicker updates in a Memorandum of …

DOE and EPA Agree to Make a Brighter Energy Star

Last week the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the Energy Star program. Who runs Energy Star, the extremely successful program for promoting efficient appliances, equipment, and buildings, and how they run it has been a point of tension between the agencies that are jointly tasked with administering the program. Consumers now look for the Energy Star label when making a purchase and manufacturers strive to make sure their products qualify – a credit to both agencies. Success has caused growing pains and disagreements between the agencies. Joint administration …

New air conditioning and furnace standards mean big savings

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and other efficiency groups released a negotiated agreement with manufacturers of residential air conditioners and furnaces yesterday, marking the end of a journey to come to consensus that lasted many months.  I negotiated on NRDC’s behalf and we will now take this agreement to both Congress and the Department of Energy (DOE). The agreement covers residential central air conditioners, heat pumps, and gas and oil furnaces and would set the new minimum federal efficiency standards, once adopted by Congress or the DOE.  The standard does not cover portable air conditioners or window units.  The …

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