Energy conservation and efficiency allow us to be more deliberate and contentious in both our energy usage and our energy development and production. We can ask ourselves, Where does this energy come from? How am I using it? Do I need to use so much?

Already because of favorable policy, energy efficiency has saved 3,700 megawatts of power in the Pacific Northwest, which equates to over $1 billion in annual savings. Another 5,000 megawatts can be saved by 2020 according to estimates. By other measures 75% of the electricity used in the United States today could be saved through efficiency measures that cost less than the electricity itself, according to the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). It was RMI’s director, Amory Lovins, who introduced the concept of negawatts in the 1970s – meeting energy demands by using energy more efficiently rather than producing more megawatts of it.

Here are some ways that we’re seeking to employ greater energy conservation and efficiency:

ORA member Maxine Hines holds up a copy of the Energy GuideLocal Energy Guide

A resource for anyone in Eastern Oregon who would like to increase comfort and savings by reducing energy and supporting local businesses. There are ample opportunities to lower your energy usage from low-cost weatherization techniques to working with local service providers for home audits, adding insulation, using energy efficient appliances or installing renewables. See the guide for more!

Students take part in a Building Operator's Certification CourseEnergy Smart Schools

The Department of Energy’s Cool Schools Initiative provides free energy audits and low-interest loans to schools interested in upgrading their facilities. For energy smart schools, our members have been working for better insulation, better lighting and even a new boiler in a high school gym. See how we’re partnering with local school districts to cut down on their energy costs.