Energy conservation is becoming more of a necessity and less of a choice. Not only is it becoming obvious that conserving is better for our environment, but in the economic times in which we are living, conservation is essential for saving money. Not only will it lower our bills, but conservation can also lead to tax credits and other perks. The state of Texas is at the forefront of our country’s fight to conserve.
Texas’s State Energy Conservation Office is referred to as SECO. Its aim is to work side by side with local governments, schools, businesses and even regular old residential consumers to be as energy efficient as possible and to lower the cost of energy. There are a variety of ways in which the SECO works to accomplish this, many of which are projects and programs aimed at helping Texans.
One of the biggest tactics SECO uses in pushing for energy conservation is education. The thought seems to be that the more educated and familiar Texans are on the subject, the more likely they are to conserve. SECO’s Innovative Energy Demonstration Program (IEDP) is a great example. IEDP is aimed at increasing the acceptance of renewable energy resources and technology by gaining more awareness. There is also the Energy Education Curriculum Program, which uses education to promote conservation and being energy efficient. SECO also created the Infinite Power of Texas Renewable Energy Educational Campaign, which uses demonstrations of technology and other hands-on lessons to promote renewable energy and sustainable building practices.
Funding is also important in Texas’s push for energy conservation. The Texas LoanSTAR Program (which stands for Loans to Save Texas and Resources) is one of the most successful building energy efficiency programs in the country. The program, which uses a revolving loan mechanism, has saved Texas taxpayers over $ 200 million through a variety of energy-efficiency projects for public buildings, including state agencies, school districts, institutions of higher education, county hospitals, local governments and hospitals. Borrowers repay loans through cost savings generated by the projects. LoanSTAR-funded projects have also prevented the release of 7,130 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx), 2.1 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) and 4,832 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2).
LoanSTAR is the largest and most successful state run building energy efficiency program in the country. As a result of more than 200 loans, the LoanSTAR Program has achieved total cumulative energy savings of over $ 212 million dollars, which results in direct savings to Texas Taxpayers.
Other SECO programs include: 1) Schools/Local Government Energy Program, 2) Energy Education Curriculum Program, 3) Energy Education Curriculum Program, 4) State Agencies/Higher Education Program, 5) Energy Management Services, 6) Innovative Energy Program, 7) Alternative Fuels Program, 8) Transportation Program, 9) Housing Partnership Program, 10) Pollution Mitigation Program and 11) Pantex Program.
With all these initiatives, Texas leads the country in energy production as well as consumption. Energy efficiency programs make the Lone Star state one of the most livable, housing-affordable and high-growth states in the nation.