GOOD

Forget nuclear and natural gas. Put aside plug-in hybrids and photovoltaics. Skip the smart grid and better battery storage. For all the exciting talk of breakthrough technologies and advanced energy R&D, the best hope we have for satisfying our ever-increasing appetite for energy is decidedly low-tech, and not particularly sexy.

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Ways to Better Spend $4 Billion Per Year in Oil Subsidies

Here are three ways we could better our Big Oil subsidies. Except these ideas would actually ease pain at the pump and save Americans money.

For the last three years, President Obama has proposed eliminating $4 billion in subsidies and tax breaks to oil companies in his budget. Every year, Congress has ignored the proposal.

Last week, the idea got a bit more traction, as the big five oil companies all announced massive first quarter profits (while gasoline hovers around $4 per gallon), and even some Republican leaders are paying the idea of cutting subsidies some lip service. Of course, most members of Congress receive so much funding from the oil companies that they'll make comments like Sarah Palin's: that $4 billion is a "drop in the bucket" and not worth eliminating.

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"Better Buildings Initiative" and "Innovation Cluster" Announced By President Obama [Updated] Obama's New "Better Buildings Initiative" Is Long Overdue, and Will Save Us Billions

President Obama's new initiative makes lots of sense: Commercial buildings account for 20 percent of the energy consumed in the country.


[Updated with video of the talk: 2/8/2011] President Obama just wrapped up a speech at Penn State University where he announced the creation of a "Better Buildings Initiative" to incentivize weatherization and energy efficiency retrofitting for commercial buildings. This is good news considering that commercial buildings currently account for roughly 20 percent of the energy consumed in the whole of the U.S. economy.

The president emphasized that efficiency means less costly waste, and that the aim of the program would be to make commercial buildings 20 percent more efficient nationwide. This would reduce companies’ energy bills by about $40 billion a year, money that could be much better spent on hiring new employees and expanding business.

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Cash for Caulkers

It makes sense to weatherize homes. Beefing up insulation and sealing leaks means less energy gets used to heat a house and less of that heat...

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