Small Stuff

Monday, July 16, 2007

Small stuff can lead to big savings when it comes to energy conservation. Like changing incandescent light bulbs for fluorescent ones. Like reducing the flow in a shower head. Or, even, like using energy-efficient technology to promote energy efficiency.

Consider, for example, two recent, 45-minute teleconferences offered recently by HUD Richmond to CDBG grantees and public housing authorities to help familiarize them with the how-to's of using the new HUD/Department of Energy/Environmental Protection Agency on-line bulk purchasing system for Energy Star products.

"The standard operating procedure for training at almost every large public or private organization," explained Bob Jennings, Public Housing Director for HUD Richmond, "is to rent a space, set aside a block of hotel rooms and put everybody in a plane, train or automobile and two days of travel to one day of training. It wastes lots of time, money and, when you think about it, energy."

So, he and Ronnie Legette, Director of Community Planning and Development for HUD Richmond, decided to let everybody stay home, save money and, thanks to the technical assistance provided remotely by HUD San Francisco's Wayne Waite, learn everything they need to know about how the new system works from the comfort of their own work-stations.

"We called it a "tele-tutorial" that allowed participants to sit at their own computers, log into the system and, thanks to Wayne's expertise, get a quick but thorough understanding of its features, options and requirements," added Legette. "In less than an hour they were up to speed and ready to start saving energy and money by purchasing Energy Star appliances for their housing developments. Better still, they gave Wayne some valuable feedback on how the on-line system works and can be made to work even better. And, best of all, no one had to book a hotel room, get on a plane or spend a dime."

It's the second time HUD Richmond has used toll-free "tele-tutorials" to, says HUD Richmond Field Office Director Bill Miles, "spread the word about what we do." Last year, he noted, HUD Richmond and HUD Tampa held "tele-tutorials" with housing authorities, local governments and multi-family property managers to help them get prepared for the upcoming hurricane season. "It was a hassle-free and headache-free way to let folks focus entirely on the issue at hand rather than fretting about whether they were going to be able to make it to the airport in time for their plane," he added. "Worked great for us and, we hope, for our partners."

HUD Richmond promotes the Energy Star program as part of HUD's 21-point Energy Action Plan. Launched by then Deputy Secretary Alphonso Jackson in 2001, the Plan projects that cutting HUD's energy costs by just 5 percent could realize savings of some $2 billion over the next ten years through the kinds of activities that the Wytheville authority and other HUD partners have undertaken.

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Content Archived: September 09, 2009