Catalyst Spring 2015


What large-scale initiatives should be undertaken to reduce electricity consumption in the United States?



What approaches have you found to be most effective when communicating with others who might be skeptical about the realities of climate change?

We will publish selected responses (edited for length) in the summer issue of Catalyst. You can respond via


Change over all traffic lights to LEDs. At any four-way intersection, there are at least four lights on, all the time. Multiply [this] by the number of intersections in the United States, and then by the number of hours in a day, week, month, year. The amount of power [used] is astronomical. Now reduce that number by 85 percent and you can see how much would be saved by using LEDs.

John J. Christiano, PE, Franklin, NJ


Property tax financing! Allowing people to borrow for solar and efficiency, which is paid [back] over decades on property tax, allows someone to invest without worry . . . if they must sell, whoever lives there [continues] paying their share of the upgrade.

Shawn Foster, Kansas City, MO


Cover all the huge blacktop parking lots in front of malls and other high-traffic buildings with scaffolding holding solar panels. [The] electricity generated could be used to run the buildings.

Alice Elshoff, Bend, OR


We could find ways to get relatively pricey LED bulbs into the hands of people. Perhaps food banks or other organizations that serve the poor could hand out LED bulbs to people who come to pick up food. Over time this would not only save people money (especially since these lightbulbs would not need to be replaced for years), but would lower their carbon footprints

Barbara Bazyn, Chelsea, IA


Electricity rate structures can have a powerful effect on consumer behavior. By focusing our efforts on the electricity providers that create rate structures, we may be able to influence the behavior and purchasing decisions of many people and thereby reduce electricity consumption.

Mike Lauber, PE, CEM, Fort Mill, SC


Swap out the natural gas water heater, which cannot be run clean and carbon-free, for an electric version that can, either with rooftop solar or grid electricity powered by renewables. Swap out that gasoline car, which cannot be made zero-emissions, for an electric car that can.

Doug McKenzie, Palo Alto, CA