Buildings collectively are some of the highest users of energy.

Of course the situation as per Texas, gets a lot of attention. A little interesting point is that El Paso, Texas, didn’t have any problems last week. What was the difference? El Paso was not part the Texas grid system but is part of the Western grid compact. Duh! Let them work it out.

But let’s get to the issue here in Louisiana.

Our building stock, especially in the housing market, is old and inefficient. This is due to several factors. Some economics, some social, and some climate.

Several years ago there was a DOE program called, yes, Weatherization.

Being a national program, a good deal of its focus was on the Northern States. But regardless, because of the loose construction of the Louisiana housing stock, primarily occupied by the elderly low-income population, significant and common sense measures were implemented that made a significant impacts.

The framework for that program is still there. With some tweaking and support, at both the public and private level, it could become a significant program to address this aspect of our community.

There are multiple other measures for the other energy markets, such as the “shared savings” approach being developed at LSU. This has generated a lot of attention, but it should be noted that this approach has been used by other major facility operators in the institutional and commercial markets. The industrial class has a driving motivation to be efficient. It’s called international competition.

On the supply side, of course the developments in the natural gas industry are significant. But conversely, the development in the renewable energy sources, be they the solar farms, and the use of biomass, which sadly is now being shipped overseas to energy generators.

The advancements in offshore wind power is getting interesting. Just a little aspect of this issue, as Louisiana is part of the Mid Continent grid, it is linked to the hytroelectric, yes, a renewable resource, generated in Canada.

Bottomline, yes all the technology is known and becoming economically feasible.

All that is needed is acceptance that energy efficiency makes common sense, but more so, represent a significant economic resource.

Yes, we can do this, especially now that we are seeing a transition from the fossil fuel resources.

Frank Neelis, formerly of Robert, lives in Baton Rouge and is a member of the Friends of Manchac Greenway group.

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