Could Energy Efficiency Lose Some Momentum?

John G. Swanson
April 14, 2011
THE TALK... | Markets & Trends

The Pennsylvania legislature may be pushing back against the rising energy efficiency tide. According to a recent article, a bill is moving forward there that will make it extremely difficult to tighten the state energy code, because, environmentalists say, builders will have virtual veto power.

Through the years, there has always been resistance to higher energy efficiency standards. Manufacturers, builders and others have argued more than once that new, more stringent requirements would not be cost effective. Such arguments have probably slowed things down a bit, but it always seems that standards continue to be tightened.  One reason for this is that politicians on both sides of the aisle have generally supported progress in energy efficiency. 

Could that be changing? Is the backlash against government spending and regulations begining to slow the momentum of energy efficiency? That's our poll question of the week. And, as usual, I'd like to hear from you. Have you seen developments, like those in Pennsylvania, in your state? Would such a trend be good or bad for us as an industry?  Email me or post a comment below and let me know what you think.


Survey Results as of 04/26/2011:


Are energy efficiency standards losing momentum?

The pace of change may slow a little, but standards will continue to become more stringent.





Pushback against increasing government regulation is going to have a real impact.





No, they continue to become more stringent.





Most readers, it would appear, believe the Pennsylvania story is an exception to the rule.  Only a third of our respondents, it seems, think pushback against government regulation could have an impact. 

Personally, I was thinking the pace of changes in standards would slow.  But I've changed my tune somewhat. Perhaps it's because I just paid more than $60 to fill my car with gas for the first time.  Market forces, it seems, are likely to focus more attention on energy efficiency again, and that is likely to encourage government initiatives once again.

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Thanks for this article: I used this as a jump-off for my latest blog post -Energy Efficiency: Are Standards Losing Support? 

Keep up the great posts! Regards- Mark

I've always said to myself that when gas prices hit $5.00 per gallon, that's the point that all today's nay sayers will be saying see I told you energy efficiency is the future. If one looks at the energy equation from a micro economic perspective, then rational people will say the payback is just too far out, but if the same people look at it from the macro economic side then energy conservation makes sense. If all the households and businesses could save 10% on their energy bills, how many coal fired power plants would not have to be built; how much less dependent would we be on the Middle East; and how much less would our national energy budget be reduced--which ultimately could make us more competitive on the world market. Energy conservation will progress at a snail's pace until market forces tweek the equation just a little more. All the greenies can howl at the moon for more and more regulation, but I don't think it will happen until the economic forces force the issue. Personally, I'm for regulation to promote more energy efficiency, but I am a biased second generation window business owner and manufacturer, so you have to take my opines with a grain of salt.

I'm green but I'm not Al Gore Green. I believe in the green movement if it makes sense. And I think energy conservation makes sense.

(I'm starting a blog: click on the link to read my latest article on "What is PVC made of?"  Click on the link for another article on “Future Windows.”)

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