In the words of the late Steve Jobs, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
Our state’s governor and her innovative energy plan’s focus on energy efficiencies are great examples of leadership in action.
The state Legislature last week passed Senate Bill 1096, helping to codify part of Oklahoma’s First Energy Plan. The plan, authored by Secretary of Energy Michael Ming and Gov. Mary Fallin, provides a comprehensive approach to advance Oklahoma’s energy policy in a way that makes sense for the industry and saves costs for consumers. It positively affects our state.
The measure directs all state agencies and higher education institutions to become 20 percent more energy-efficient by the year 2020. Fallin said that this bill is a central component of our agenda to make Oklahoma’s state government smaller, smarter, and more cost-efficient. I agree.
The predictions for this bill’s cost savings are amazing, ranging anywhere from $300 million to $500 million. Yes, millions. As the plan points out, there are huge opportunities where the state of Oklahoma can lead to save energy and reduce taxpayer costs. Calling on all state agencies and higher education institutions to become more energy-efficient is truly leading by example.
We can all take a lesson from Oklahoma’s move to become more energy-efficient. Think about this: Buildings in the United States now actually consume more energy than transportation or industry. Buildings account for 48 percent of U.S. energy consumption, compared to transportation, which accounts for 27 percent, or industry, which consumes 25 percent of America’s energy. Residential buildings account for more than half of that consumption. That means each of us can be a part of a much-needed energy solution. Use less, need less, spend less.
In fact, the average home in the United States emits 4 metric tons of greenhouse gases per person per year. Translated into dollars, the average home spends about $2,200 on energy each year in the United States. Over the past decade, residential buildings have trended toward greater consumption of energy and higher emissions of greenhouse gases than the industrial sector. This is perhaps in part because of the innovative leadership of others and our consumption of their smartphones, tablets and home appliances. But whatever the reason, we are all using more per capita than ever before.
So, we could take a lesson from Fallin’s call to become more energy-efficient and save ourselves some money as well. Learning more about how to move your residence to become more energy-efficient is also good for our state’s environment and health.
For tips on what you and I can do, visit www.energysavers.gov/tips.
Jim Roth, a former Oklahoma corporation commissioner, is an attorney with Phillips Murrah P.C. in Oklahoma City, where his practice focuses on clean, green energy for Oklahoma.