Rebuilding Together’s National Conference


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Kateri Callahan
President, Alliance to Save Energy
November 12, 2009
Washington, DC

Callahan’s opening keynote speech for Rebuilding Together’s 2009 conference highlighted the importance of energy efficiency in helping low-income families across the country lower energy bills and fight waste.

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  • REBUILDING TOGETHER NATIONAL CONFERENCE: Voices for America’s Neighborhoods
    APPROX. 250-300 PEOPLE
    20 MINUTES
    Good afternoon – and thank you, Gary, for your kind opening remarks. I am Kateri Callahan and I have the honor of serving as president of the Alliance to Save Energy. I am delighted to welcome all of you here this afternoon to kick off Rebuilding Together’s national conference, Voices for America’s Neighborhoods.
  • Thanks so much to Gary and the team at Rebuilding Together for asking me to join you for this national conference. I have admired the work that you do for years, and I am delighted that we now have forged a strong partnership with you, which I believe will result in greater good for the deserving families that you are helping out across America – both by expanding the number of people you can help and insuring that improving energy efficiency is a cornerstone of the improvements that are made to the homes you refurbish.
    I believe that Rebuilding Together is a testament to the truth of the words spoken by Margaret Mead. Many of you may be familiar with the quote, but if you are not, I think you should be as you really epitomize her sentiment, which was: “Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”
    Talk a few minutes about who we are and why we are so passionate about advancing energy efficiency and the pressing needs – both domestically and across the globe – for insuring that energy efficiency is implemented to its fullest potential. Then quickly turn to why we are so keen to work with Rebuilding Together and the enormous potential that exists for achieving major national and international goals with respect to climate and energy – literally one house at a time – through the networks you have established and the important work you are doing.
    Some of you may be familiar with the Alliance to Save Energy – we are the world’s premier energy efficiency organization, created three decades ago by two members of the U.S. Senate (each sitting on either side of the aisle) to advance energy efficiency world-wide. Today, there are ten sitting members of Congress on our Board, again, from both sides of the aisle, representing a diverse range of interests, areas of expertise, and reasons to embrace energy efficiency.
  • The Alliance is headquartered in Washington, D.C. but has operations in five U.S. states and more than a dozen countries around the world. Through these operations, we have promoted energy efficiency as a “triple win” as it helps governments and their citizens to meet environmental, economic and energy security imperatives. In practical terms, this means we fight energy waste from all angles:
    - We advocate policies that promote energy efficiency;
    - We reach out to consumers with our message;
    - We conduct focused and unbiased research;
    - We build coalitions and cultivate partnerships – a shining example of which has been our relationship with Rebuilding Together;
    - We recognize and showcase leadership in energy efficiency.
    - And, as I hope to achieve with you during my time here, we continually strive to insert energy efficiency into debates, dialogues, and solutions for tackling today’s problems – because we know it works!
  • The good news is that there is a very large opportunity to contain energy demand growth in an economically attractive way. By capturing the potential available from existing technologies with an internal rate of return of 10 percent or more, we could cut global energy demand growth by half or more over the next 15 years. In other words, global energy demand in 2020 would decline by an amount equal to almost 150 percent of the entire US energy consumption today.
    There are over 100 million existing homes in America, and it is estimated that 46 million of those are under insulated. The potential to save consumers money on energy bills, to help protect our economy and national security and to tackle global climate change on in one fell swoop exists simply by making the homes we live in less “leaky” and more energy efficient – with the huge side benefit of increased comfort!
  • Energy efficiency and low income housing:
    Average household energy expenditures in 2009 = $2220 (residential only – not including cost of transportation)  PERCENT OF ANNUAL INCOME: 4.5% (based on average household income of $50,233)
    Average household energy expenditures in 2008 = $2275 (residential)
    Home energy bills are an even bigger strain on low-income families:
    Based on low-income family of four, household income = $33,075:
    Household energy expenses are 6.8% of annual income
    According to a study conducted by the American Gas Association, some families receiving federal aid through LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) are spending 1/5 of their annual income on home energy bills – more than 6x the level that other income groups put towards home energy bills
    Although the price seems to have steadied, if not dropped, the cost of using energy for the average family is nonetheless a burden on household budgets
    Deploying energy efficiency can be an answer for families, individuals and households struggling financially
    According to U.S. HUD: the savings earned from lower energy costs as a result of improving energy use in the average low-income household exceeds the increase in monthly payments to accommodate the energy improvements
    Example: A family living in an older existing home valued at $150,000 can save a net total of $61 dollars a month by incorporating energy efficiency measures and technologies
    In the medium term: yearly savings of $732
    In the long-term: value of the house increases (value of same $150K home with energy improvements rises to $154,816)
    According to DOE: on average, weatherization reduces heating bills by 32% and overall energy bills by about $350 per year at current prices.
    the average expenditure limit is $6,500 per home—effective upgrades, with energy savings paying for the modifications within a few years
    In terms of energy savings alone, weatherization clients save $1.83 for every dollar of DOE investment (study conducted by ORNL)
    In 2007 alone, 104,283 homes weatherized (jumped from less than 75,000 in 2000)
    POISED FOR AN EVEN BIGGER LEAP –- $2Million over next two years with $5 billion from the federal government. -= Just the start and a golden opportunity for Rebuilding Together and for the Alliance.
  • While certainly
    ALBUQUERQUE, NM, February 22, 2007
    The home energy-efficiency makeover was performed on a 60-year-old, one-story, four-bedroom, two-bath house located in the Northeast Heights that is owned by Alejandro and Teresa Porath. Materials and labor for the makeover of the Porath family’s house were provided by a number of local and national companies and agencies. Until the makeover, the Porath family had to rely on the living room fireplace and an outdated, overtaxed heating system. The old windows throughout the house and the sparse insulation did little to keep the cold air out and the warm air inside. The heating and water bills, which combined ranged from $200-300 a month, forced Alejandro to curtail many non-essential expenses, such as Internet access for his son Abraham. Even with such cutbacks, the Poraths struggled to make monthly payments under the local energy company’s payment plan. The donated energy-efficiency improvements will lower the Porath family’s energy bills, while also increasing the family’s indoor comfort. Other donated services will lower their gasoline costs by keeping their vehicles tuned up and well maintained.
    To ease the financial burden of home energy costs experienced by millions of American families like the Poraths, the Alliance to Save Energy and its 31 Power is in Your Hands for-profit and nonprofit partners created the “6° of Energy Efficiency Challenge” – a nationwide campaign highlighting the important collective economic, environmental, national security, and other benefits that will come from families and communities across the U.S. “taking the challenge” to lower their energy use
  • For more info:
    Clites family
    36% increase in home’s energy efficiency
    Regional electric utility Entergy
    HomeCare, a Baton Rouge home remodeling and repair company
    Donated and installed 29 new energy-efficient windows
    More than six years ago, Cathy’s husband Charlie, a three-tour Vietnam veteran then working as a maintenance manager, was disabled by a heart attack and then a massive stroke, leaving the family to rely on Veterans and Social Security disability benefits. Wheelchair-bound and needing daily care, the former breadwinner and “Mr. Fix-It” could no longer maintain the house.
    Cathy: "You know what I miss the most about all of this?" Clites asked. "All of the wonderful people who worked on this project. Come back."
  • More info:
    October 30, 2007:
    Baton Rouge Mayor-President Melvin ‘Kip’ Holden
    Eureka Smart House EE Challenge sponsored by SCI FI Channel and Alliance
    Clites family chosen from 9000 applications
    average home energy bils: $460/month
    Baton Rouge still dealing with aftermath of Katrina: influx of refugees is a strain on resources
    Cathy’s multi-generation household includes her and her husband Charlie, a three-tour Vietnam Veteran who is now disabled; their daughter and son-in-law and their four children; and their son-in-law’s son from a previous marriage. Since Charlie’s debilitating stroke five years ago, Cathy’s responsibilities and stress have greatly increased, so the extended family moved in to provide assistance.
    “Winning this contest is a dream come true. My home is now more energy efficient, my energy bills will be lower, and I’m helping the environment by living in a house that produces less pollution and greenhouse gases. And I’m going to share with everyone I know these energy-efficiency actions that we all can do to help ourselves and our world.”
  • Opportunity exists today that we have not had in our lifetimes to build a new economy and in so doing help the nation’s poor as well as the rich. The President is putting money where his mouth has been and remains – the need to rebuild our economy on a new clean energy future that has energy efficiency as its foundation. Opportunities for jobs in the energy efficiency arena are huge – from the effort underway through the stimulus to weatherize 2 million homes over the next two years – when last year we weatherized only about 150K, to EE programs and initiatives being funded through more than $3 billion each to states and communities in block grants. And I believe this is but the beginning. The president doesn’t want to stop after weatherizing 2 million homes – he will go on and has committed to 10 million over the next ten years. He is investing in R&D to bring forward new, more efficient technologies and products; and his goal in buildings is to reach net-zero capability by 2030.
    And he isn’t alone – EE is not a partisan issue; EPACT 2005; 2007; Energy and Climate bills in the House and Senate. A march that might be slowed but won’t be stopped.
    And this can be good for your organization and ours!
  • For more info:
    And we’ve begun our partnership already.
    On the first National Day of Service to commemorate the attack on the world trade center, the Alliance came together to help RT put together the EE kits to tens of thousands of people across the U.S.
    and in D.C. we rolled our sleeves up and worked together on the home of Mrs. Brashear in SE Washington, DC; 74 years old, widow seeing first hand the work you do and the good it brings not just to the homeowner, but to the entire neighborhood. “front lines of energy efficiency”
    From here, we hope to grow with you as stimulus dollars roll out into communities to fund training and education for weatherization. Your network of affiliates and volunteers is incredibly well-positioned to help the government meet its stimulus goals, and we believe the Alliance’s 30-year history with delivering EE into the marketplace will prove valuable to your efforts.
    It is seldom, I suspect, when one can do so much good and have it accompanied by derivative benefits that in their sum may prove more important and lasting than the act itself. To be clear, what you are doing to help homeowner by homeowner and neighborhood by neighborhood if it includes energy efficiency as a core component can help the nation’s overall economy, its energy security and indeed can help us to tackle the most critical environmental issue we have ever faced – global warming.
    So, with that, I thank you for your time and welcome you to the ranks of EE advocates. Our former secretary of energy Spence Abraham said that “The greatest national energy resource we have is the energy we currently waste. I look forward to working with you all to stop that energy waste an in so doing make our world a better place. Thank you.
    buried two sons who died while serving in Vietnam. Since her husband's passing in 2000, maintaining her two-story home while caring for her disabled son and grandson had become increasingly difficult.
  • Rebuilding Together’s National Conference

    1. 1. Kateri Callahan President, Alliance to Save Energy Rebuilding Together National Conference Voices for America’s Neighborhoods November 12, 2009 Energy Efficiency and Affordable Living: A Recipe for Success
    2. 2.  The Alliance to Save Energy promotes energy efficiency worldwide to achieve a healthier economy, a cleaner environment and greater energy security. - Non-profit organization headquartered in U.S.; operations world-wide - Led by Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Jim Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy - Includes 10 Members of Congress – Bi-Cameral; Bi-Partisan - Also includes environmental, consumer, and trade associations heads, state and local policy makers, corporate executives
    3. 3. Business Government Public Interests▪ ▪  Sponsorship and participation of 170 organizations  Involvement by businesses in all economic sectors  Initiatives underway in research, policy advocacy, education, technology deployment, and communications
    4. 4. Why Energy Efficiency? Powering the U.S. Economy for 30 Years
    5. 5.  Energy Efficiency AVOIDING roughly 2.5 billion tons of CO2 annually  Saving roughly $400 billion annually
    6. 6. Source: McKinsey Global Institute
    7. 7. Source: Energy Information Administration
    8. 8.  Low-income, high energy bills?  Energy efficiency to the rescue  Ready, set, stimulus!
    9. 9. Congresswoman Heather Wilson and Homeowner Alejandro Porath.
    10. 10. “Our Future is What We Build it to Be” – President Barack Obama *$65 Billion in Stimulus Available for EE *Weatherize 1 million homes/year *Improve efficiency of federal buildings * Control carbon emissions *Create hundreds of thousands of “green jobs”