U.S. Rep. John Barrow (D-Savannah) announced that, in recognition of Earth Day, his office has gone green.
“There’s no silver bullet to solving global warming. If we’re going to tackle this problem, we’re going to have to make fundamental policy changes. Part of the solution starts at the individual level,” Barrow said. “I want folks to know that small changes at home and the office can make a big difference. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing. Because when we do our part to cut down on harm to the environment, we also save money on our energy bills.”
Some of the things Barrow has done include changing the light bulbs in his offices to compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, and instituting strict recycling programs in his district offices. According to ENERGY STAR, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, changing just one light bulb in every home or office would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, save more than $600 million in annual energy costs and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars per year. In addition, each CFL bulb saves about $30 or more in electricity costs over each bulb’s lifetime.
As is so often the case, measures such as these reduce the amount of carbon waste generated by an office, but not all the way to zero. The accepted way to close the gap is by purchasing a “carbon offset,” which is used to reduce carbon waste in some other sector of the economy.
By purchasing the required amount of carbon offsets and paying for it out of his own pocket, Barrow is now the first Congressman from Georgia whose offices are certified to be “carbon neutral.”
“We’ve got a responsibility to protect our planet. Our kids deserve clean air to breathe and clean water to drink,” he said. “We’ve taken the first steps, but there’s a lot more to do. I’ll continue to fight to end global warming and protect our environment for future generations.”
Congress has taken several major steps by passing landmark legislation that addresses the global warming crisis while creating new “green collar” jobs, cutting energy costs, and helping end our dependence on foreign oil.
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 was signed into law last year. It includes the first increase in vehicle fuel efficiency standards in 30 years, and will improve fuel efficiency by 30 percent and save American families $700 to $1,000 per year at the gas pump.
In addition, new building, appliance and lighting efficiency standards included in the new law will save consumers $400 billion through 2030. The new law will also help save 5.3 billion metric tons in energy-related CO2 emissions from 2008-2030 and cut the growth in energy-related emissions of CO2 by 10 percent.
“Oil prices are outrageous and our dependence on foreign oil threatens our environment and our national security,” Barrow added. “It’s time to invest in the future.”