President Barack Obama has chided the federal government to be more energy efficient with cost-saving moves, as part of his groundbreaking initiative to transform the nation’s energy infrastructure. Doing so would save tens of billions of dollars, the administration has argued.
What’s gone unnoticed is President George W. Bush had already launched the federal government on an energy efficiency program back in 2003, a program that is already saving U.S. taxpayers lots of money, notes Seth Leitman, otherwise known as The Green Living Guy (http://www.greenlivingguy.com).
Leitman is the author of a number of alternative energy books, including “Green Lighting, Build Your Own Electric Vehicle,” “and the Green Guru Guides for McGraw-Hill. Leitman also worked for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority on marketing and managing alternative-fueled vehicle and electric vehicle programs.
“Before we get into political fights over cutting government waste on energy, the federal government is already well on its way in cutting waste in its energy,” says Leitman.
The federal government spends an estimated $500 billion annually on its energy needs, from light bulbs to cars to fuel, Leitman says, and that budget is coming down. “The government is already trying to be efficient and has been efficient during both Republican and Democrat administrations,” he says.
At present, the U.S. Congress is moving to enact a five-year freeze on non-security spending, in keeping with a proposal from President Obama. However, the freeze will not affect new moves to install energy-efficient features at federal facilities, officials say. During the Bush Administration, the federal government launched an energy efficiency program. Beginning in 2003 the federal government started creating the regulations and changes to make the federal government more energy efficient. For example, Leitman says the US Air Force starting dumping inefficient computers in 2004, saving an estimated net $15 million annually.
By 2008, homes on military bases had to be more energy efficient, saving an estimated net $30 million annually.
From 2003 to 2008, the federal government turned in a 15% reduction in energy costs during the Bush administration alone, Leitman says.
President George W. Bush didn’t stop there. The Bushes installed a geothermal heating and cooling system for their home in Crawford, Texas, using only about a quarter of the electricity that standard heating and air-conditioning systems ordinarily consume, USAToday reports.
How did they do it? They had several holes drilled 300-feet deep, where the temperature is a constant 67 degrees, the report indicate.
Pipes were then connected to a heat pump inside the house to circulate water into the ground, and then back up and through the house. The water, usually at 67 degrees, in turn heats their central Texas home in winter and cools it in summer, reports indicate. Also, the water for the outdoor pool is now heated with the same system, reports indicate. The moves proved so efficient, the Bushes evidently cancelled their plans to install more solar energy panels.
President Bush also reportedly has installed a system that uses 25,000 gallons of rainwater storage, waste water collection from sinks and showers for irrigation for the flowers and shrubs surrounding the house, reports indicate, The wastewater travels through underground purifying tanks and then into a cistern. The Bush’s Crawford home was reportedly designed by a professor of architecture at a leading national university.