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Building on Our Progress in Solar Deployment, White House

April 18, 2014 in EV News, Greentech, Politics, Solar

Data courtesy of National Renewable Energy Lab. Chart by Daniel Wood. Courtesy of DOE

Data courtesy of National Renewable Energy Lab. Chart by Daniel Wood.
Courtesy of DOE (click on chart to enlarge)

By Dan Utech

Since President Obama took office, we have made significant advances in clean energy. Last year alone was record-breaking for new installations, and the amount of solar power installed in the United States has increased around eleven fold. Just this past week, the U.S. Army announced plans to start development on a historic solar array at Fort Huachuca in Arizona – the biggest Defense Department solar array on a military installation to date, and HUD is increasing solar on multifamily housing.

And for good reason. Solar is a smart investment. The average cost of solar panels has dropped by more than 60%, and the cost for a solar photovoltaic electric system has declined by about 50%. The numbers tell an important story: There has never been a time when solar is more affordable and more available to so many Americans. Solar is not just a prospect; it’s a reality.

And it’s a reality that means new jobs. Solar jobs are growing faster than in any other sector in the United States – by more than 20% each year. Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar, supporting Americans with jobs that can’t be outsourced – 143,000 of them and counting.

Behind these successes are the community leaders, innovators, educators, and organizers who are making it happen. Today, we are recognizing ten Champions of Change for Solar, local leaders from across the country who are stepping up to create jobs and economic opportunity in solar power and driving policy changes at the local level to advance solar deployment in the United States.

And to build on our progress, we are also announcing a new effort designed to spur solar deployment in the public and private sectors. President Obama is committed to making 2014 a year of action. In that spirit, we are calling on leaders across sectors to make commitments to support solar deployment and job creation. You can read about our effort on this fact sheet.

As we seek to advance our energy portfolio, solar will be an increasingly important building block in our path toward a clean energy future. And it’s ours for the taking.

Dan Utech is the Special Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change.

This article is a repost (4-17-14), credit: White House.

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New Crab Wheel ‘Glows’ with Savings Thanks to GE’s LED Lighting Donation

April 17, 2014 in Environment, EV News, San Francisco, Sustainable San Francisco

Fisherman’s Wharf CBD Executive Director Troy Campbell said the crab wheel now has a “bright, even glow” and a “uniform, one-color appearance” when illuminated, which he noted has already received positive tourist feedback. Photo courtesy of GE

Fisherman’s Wharf CBD Executive Director Troy Campbell said the crab wheel now has a “bright, even glow” and a “uniform, one-color appearance” when illuminated, which he noted has already received positive tourist feedback.
Photo courtesy of GE

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — April 17, 2014 — (NYSE:GE) — On San Francisco’s northern waterfront lies the world-renowned historic fishing district, Fisherman’s Wharf. Home to an abundance of restaurants, hotels and attractions, the city’s most popular tourist destination attracts more than 10 million visitors a year who at the gateway can glimpse a nearly 16-foot iconic symbol of the area’s rich history and vibrant culture—the “crab wheel.”

With the help of Arrow Sign Company and LED sign lighting systems donated from GE, the Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District (CBD) recently restored this cherished landmark while saving an estimated 80 percent in lighting energy usage.

Fishing for Answers

First erected in 1968, the original crab wheel sign was constructed with plywood and sheet metal that became weathered due to saltwater and rust damage. Seeking to extend the life of one of the city’s most photographed landmarks, the Fisherman’s Wharf CBD—in collaboration with the Port of San Francisco and the Fisherman’s Wharf Merchants Association—contracted GE Lighting and Oakland, Calif.-based Arrow Sign Company to redesign the wheel with durability and efficiency in mind.

“The crab wheel is an icon that is recognized by people around the world, so preserving its original appearance was very important to us,” said Troy Campbell, executive director of Fisherman’s Wharf CBD. “GE and Arrow Sign Company helped us modernize the structure without losing a prominent symbol of San Francisco.”

The crab wheel was rebuilt using aluminum, polycarbonate and high-density foam materials, while the original wood handles lining its perimeter were kept intact. GE donated its Tetra® PowerStrip LED sign lighting to replace the traditional T12 fluorescent tube lighting previously used in the sign. The new sign will consume 80 percent less energy for Fisherman’s Wharf, with the LED lighting system using 676 total watts versus the 4,000 total watts used with the previous fluorescent lamp layout. Additionally, the switch to LED lighting means greater longevity for the sign’s lighting system due to a rated fixture lifetime of 50,000 hours.

“We reviewed several contractor bids and one of the main factors to choose Arrow Sign Company was its use of GE products,” Campbell said. “We knew LED technology had the right long-lasting, energy-saving benefits for us, and we felt confident in the GE brand.”

After two months of project planning and construction, the new crab wheel was completed on July 3, 2013. Installation took place over three nights, where the sign was replaced one side at a time so that there was no downtime or missed photo opportunities for tourists.

When illuminated, Campbell said the sign now has a “bright, even glow” and a “uniform, one-color appearance,” which he noted has already received positive tourist feedback.

The move to GE’s LED sign lighting will also mean reduced maintenance time and costs compared to previous upkeep needs.

“With its location in the heart of a large tourist area, service calls and permits to the crab wheel are difficult, expensive and inconvenient for visitors,” Campbell noted. “We expect the sign’s new LED lighting to significantly reduce our annual maintenance spend.”

Visit www.gelighting.com to learn more about LED and other efficient lighting technologies from GE. To learn more about GE’s commitment to innovative solutions to today’s environmental challenges while driving economic growth, visit www.ecomagination.com.

About The Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District

The Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District was founded in November 2005 by the business and property owners of the San Francisco neighborhood. The district is funded through an annual assessment for 15 years from the property owners.

The purpose of the Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District is to preserve and enhance its vast San Francisco waterfront landscape and multi-cultural heritage, while integrating modern efficiencies to enrich the experience of visitors from both near and far through: Market Research; Brand and Destination Marketing; Sidewalk Operations, Beautification and Order; Traffic and Urban Planning; and Emergency Preparedness.

For more information, visit www.visitfishermanswharf.com.

About Arrow Sign Company

For more than 60 years, Arrow Sign Company has manufactured quality electric and architectural signs to help major corporations, retail merchants and local communities achieve and exceed their goals of visibility and image. From initial design concepts to detailed plans, fabrication, installation and maintenance, the full-service sign company has created some of the nation’s most exciting displays, including: the W Hotel in Hollywood, Calif., San Francisco Metreon, Union Bank rebranding, Ask.com headquarters and more.

For more information, visit www.arrowsigncompany.com.

About GE Lighting

GE Lighting invents with the vigor of its founder Thomas Edison to develop energy-efficient solutions that change the way people light their world in commercial, industrial, municipal and residential settings. The business employs about 13,000 people in more than 100 countries, and sells products under the reveal® and Energy Smart® consumer brands, and Evolve™, GTx™, Immersion™, Infusion™, Lumination™, Albeo™, and Tetra® commercial brands, all trademarks of GE. General Electric (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter to build a world that works better.

For more information, visit www.gelighting.com.

This article is a repost, credit: GE.

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ZEOD RC drivers have a new set of buttons to push

April 17, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV News, Nissan

Photo courtesy of Nissan

Photo courtesy of Nissan

LE CASTELLET, France – GT Academy winners Wolfgang Reip and Lucas Ordóñez – plus three-time Japanese Super GT champion Satoshi Motoyama – have a totally new set of buttons to learn when they jump behind the wheel of the Nissan ZEOD RC.

While Reip and Ordóñez began their racing career pushing buttons on their PlayStation controllers, the talented racers have been learning the control systems on the Nissan ZEOD RC which will make its race debut at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours.

In this exclusive video, fans can now get an insight into what it takes to master the controls of this unique race car which not only features a pair of electric motors producing 300 horsepower, but a separate internal combustion engine which produces 400 horsepower from a 1.5-liter, three-cylinder, 40 kilogram (88 pound) powerplant.

The electric and gasoline systems drive the car through the same gearbox, which is located between the two. The internal combustion engine is placed right behind the fuel tank and battery at the rear of the tub, while the electric motors are located at the rear of the car.

Each has its own electrical system, which is activated by the driver: a 12 volt system for basic systems including lights and radio, and a separate 400 volt system used exclusively for the electric motors.

“There is certainly a lot to learn from the driver’s perspective as this car is very different than anything seen at Le Mans previously,” Reip said. “I’ve only done one race in a prototype and most of my racing has been aboard GT cars where the steering wheel in particular is much simpler. Once you have done a couple of days in the car, it does start to feel like your office and you know where everything is. There was a lot to learn to start with.”

Reip, Ordóñez and Motoyama have been behind the wheel of the Nissan ZEOD RC this week during testing at Circuit Paul Ricard in the South of France.

“Once you have done a couple of days in the car, it does start to feel like your office and you know where everything is. There was a lot to learn to start with,” said Reip.

Both GT Academy alumni are eagerly awaiting the chance to drive the car at Le Mans for the first time. For Spaniard Ordóñez however, he’ll have to wait an extra couple of weeks.

Racing full time in Japan in Super GT in 2014, Ordóñez has a clashing race at Autopolis on the same weekend as the Le Mans test day on June 1. Ordóñez and Kazuki Hoshino finished fourth in the opening round of the championship aboard the NDDP Racing Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 in the GT300 class last weekend.

For the Le Mans test weekend, Nissan has enlisted two-time Le Mans Series LMP2 champion and dual Le Mans 24 Hours class winner, Brazilian Tommy Erdos, to fill in for Ordóñez.

“Tommy obviously has a tremendous record at Le Mans, and being from Brazil adds additional international flavor to our lineup,” said Darren Cox, Nissan Global Head of Brand, Marketing & Sales, NISMO. “Tommy is a very safe pair of hands and a two-time Le Mans class winner, having him available to help out is a real bonus for the Nissan ZEOD RC program.”

The Nissan ZEOD RC will compete at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours as the “Garage 56″ entry, an additional slot on the grid reserved by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest for cars showcasing new and innovative technology. Nissan is using the ZEOD RC program as a development platform for its planned LM P1 class debut in 2015.

This article is a repost, credit: Nissan. Video courtesy of Nissan.

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Energy Department Announces $15 Million to Help Communities Boost Solar Deployment

April 17, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Politics, Solar

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In support of the Administration’s goal of doubling renewable energy generation for a second time by 2020, the Energy Department today announced $15 million to help communities develop multi-year solar plans to install affordable solar electricity for homes and businesses. The United States continues to be a global leader in solar, with total U.S. solar energy installations reaching 13 gigawatts last year. As the cost of solar energy continues to decline, more states and local communities are deploying solar energy projects to meet their electricity needs.

“As part of the President’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, solar energy is helping families and businesses throughout the U.S. access affordable, clean renewable power,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “The Energy Department is committed to further driving down the cost of solar energy and supporting innovative community-based programs – creating more jobs, reducing carbon pollution and boosting economic growth.”

Image courtesy of DOE

Image courtesy of DOE

As part of the Department’s SunShot Initiative, the Solar Market Pathways funding opportunity aims to help communities develop solar deployment plans that focus on cutting red tape, building strong public-private partnerships to deploy commercial-scale solar. As part of these solar deployment plans, communities will establish innovative financing mechanisms and launch creative community-based initiatives, such as shared solar programs. Shared solar programs give families and businesses the opportunity to own, lease, or purchase electricity from a share of a larger solar project – reducing overall costs and giving more consumers access to renewable power.

Broadly, the Energy Department funding announced today will help drive affordable, efficient solar power in the United States and help industry partners meet the SunShot Initiative goal to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources by the end of the decade.  Find more information on the Solar Market Pathways funding opportunity, including application requirements, HERE.

This article is a repost, credit: US DOE.

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Cadillac and ChargePoint Bring EV Customer Luxury Driving Experience

April 16, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV charging, EV News, GM

World’s largest, most open electric vehicle charging network available to ELR drivers

2014 Cadillac ELR; Palm Springs and Santa Monica, California (Richard Prince/Cadillac Photo). Courtesy of GM

2014 Cadillac ELR (Richard Prince/Cadillac Photo).
Courtesy of GM

NEW YORK – Cadillac today announced a partnership with ChargePoint, the largest and most open electric vehicle-charging network in the world. The collaboration brings Cadillac ELR drivers immediate access to more than 16,500 charging locations on the ChargePoint network.

The ELR electrified luxury coupe went on sale at the end of 2013. It embodies Cadillac’s Art & Science design philosophy, combining provocative design with progressive technology. All 2014 and 2015 ELRs include a ChargePoint Driver Kit in the owner’s manual, providing access to its 16,500 EV charging stations. Many are located where EV drivers work, eat, shop and play.

“ChargePoint is thrilled that Cadillac, a marquee brand in the luxury car industry, has developed an electric vehicle for its customers,” said Pasquale Romano, ChargePoint CEO. “With the ELR, Cadillac is helping drive the rapid growth of EVs by offering an innovative and premium vehicle. We are confident that as more EV options come out, more people will make the switch to electric.”

By choosing ChargePoint as a partner for the ELR, Cadillac ensures that car buyers know there is a robust charging network to support the growth of electric vehicles. The ELR has a total range of 340 miles and an all-electric range of 37 miles – which more than covers the average daily commute.

By providing a ChargePoint card with every ELR, drivers can immediately sign up for free and get access to ChargePoint’s network.

“We strive to provide Cadillac buyers with the highest level of customer care and ease of use for their vehicles, which is why we chose to partner with ChargePoint for the ELR,” said Uwe Ellinghaus, Global Cadillac chief marketing officer.

“ChargePoint’s large network with advanced technology ensures the smoothest charging and greatest driving experience for ELR drivers,” he said.

ChargePoint users have helped combat global warming by saving over 3.8 million gallons of gas and over 25 million pounds of CO2 emissions.

About ChargePoint

ChargePoint is the largest and most open electric vehicle (EV) charging network in the world, with more than 16,500 charging locations and a 70%+ market share. Ranked #1 by leading independent research firm, Navigant Research, ChargePoint makes advanced hardware and best-in-class cloud based software. ChargePoint’s open network is utilized by many leading EV hardware makers and encourages all EV charging manufacturers to join.

ChargePoint’s real-time network information including the availability of charging locations throughout the nation is available through the ChargePoint mobile app, online and via the navigation systems in top-selling EVs. Every 10 seconds, a driver connects to a ChargePoint station and by initiating over 4.4 million charging sessions, ChargePoint drivers have saved over 3.5million gallons of gasoline and driven 89 million gas free miles. For more information about ChargePoint, visit www.chargepoint.com

About Cadillac

Cadillac has been a leading luxury auto brand since 1902. Today Cadillac is growing globally, driven by an expanding product portfolio featuring dramatic design and technology. More information on Cadillac appears at www.cadillac.com.

This article is a repost, credit: GM.

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Nissan launches programs to make LEAF charging free and “EZ”

April 16, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV charging, EV News, LEAF, Nissan, Sustainable San Francisco

2014 Nissan LEAF™ Photo courtesy of Nissan

2014 Nissan LEAF™
Photo courtesy of Nissan

NEW YORKNissan today announced the expansion of its successful “No Charge to Charge” promotion, which will provide two years of no-cost public charging with the purchase or lease of a new Nissan LEAF. In total, Nissan will launch “No Charge to Charge” in 25 U.S. markets, which are currently responsible for more than 80 percent of Nissan LEAF sales.

The “No Charge to Charge” expansion will use the new EZ-ChargeSM card, a first-of-its-kind platform that will offer Nissan LEAF owners access to the leading EV charging networks with a single, all-access card. New owners will receive an EZ-Charge card that will provide access to chargers with ChargePoint, Blink Network from Car Charging Group, AeroVironment and NRG eVgo.

“‘No Charge to Charge’ and EZ-Charge are a winning combination, making public charging free and easy for new LEAF buyers,” said Fred Diaz, senior vice president, Nissan Sales & Marketing, Aftersales. “Public charging is an important way to provide added range confidence to EV buyers and persuade more shoppers to join the more than 110,000 LEAF drivers around the world.”

“No Charge to Charge” will launch using the EZ-Charge card on July 1, 2014, in 10 of the top markets for Nissan LEAF sales, including San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Seattle, Portland, Ore., Nashville, Phoenix, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston and Washington, DC. The “No Charge to Charge” offer and EZ-Charge card will be provided retroactively to buyers in these markets who purchased their LEAF on or after April 1, 2014.

After the rollout in the first 10 markets, Nissan plans to add “No Charge to Charge” and EZ-Charge at LEAF dealers in at least 15 additional markets during the following year. More details on the programs in these additional markets will be made available closer to their launch.

The EZ-Charge access card is managed by NRG eVgo with support from ChargePoint, CarCharging and AeroVironment.

“Nissan’s commitment to mass-market electric cars is matched by our commitment to increase charging infrastructure for LEAF owners,” said Brendan Jones, director, Nissan EV Infrastructure and Strategy. “EZ-Charge is a natural progression of our multi-pronged commitment to developing EV charging at workplace campuses, at Nissan LEAF dealerships and in the communities where LEAF drivers live and work.”

About Nissan North America

In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and www.InfinitiUSA.com, or visit the Americas media sites NissanNews.com and InfinitiNews.com.

About Nissan                                                       

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan’s second-largest automotive company, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, and is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 236,000 employees globally, Nissan sold more than 4.9 million vehicles and generated revenue of 9.6 trillion yen (USD 116.16 billion) in fiscal 2012. Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of over 60 models under the Nissan and Infiniti brands. In 2010, Nissan introduced the Nissan LEAF, and continues to lead in zero-emission mobility. The LEAF, the first mass-market, pure-electric vehicle launched globally, is now the best-selling EV in history.

For more information on our products, services and commitment to sustainable mobility, visit our website at http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/.

About the EZ-Charge partners:

About ChargePoint

ChargePoint is the largest and most open electric vehicle (EV) charging network in the world, with more than 16,500 charging locations and a 70%+ market share. Ranked #1 by leading independent research firm, Navigant Research, ChargePoint makes advanced hardware and best-in-class cloud based software. ChargePoint’s open network is utilized by many leading EV hardware makers and encourages all EV charging manufacturers to join. Every 10 seconds, a driver connects to a ChargePoint station and by initiating over 4.5 million charging sessions, ChargePoint drivers have saved over 3.9 million gallons of gasoline and driven 93 million gas free miles. For more information about ChargePoint, visit www.chargepoint.com.

About CarCharging

Car Charging Group, Inc. (OTCQB: CCGI) is the largest owner and operator of electric vehicle (EV) charging services with more than 13,650 charging ports in 35 states and three countries. CarCharging owns and operates the Blink Network, the software that operates, monitors, and tracks the Blink charging stations and all of its data, and owns and operates EV charging equipment manufactured by various additional providers.  CarCharging has strategic partnerships across multiple business sectors including multifamily residential and commercial properties, parking garages, shopping malls, retail parking, and municipalities, enabling EV drivers to easily recharge at locations throughout the United States. For more information about CarCharging or the Blink Network, please visit www.CarCharging.com, www.BlinkNetwork.com, www.facebook.com/Car.Charging or www.twitter.com/CarCharging.

About AeroVironment, Inc.

AeroVironment is a technology solutions provider with decades of experience delivering complete EV charging solutions, such as home charging, public charging, fast charging, data collection, grid-integrated communications, and complete installation, training and support services for consumers, automakers, utilities, government agencies and businesses. The company has deployed more than 15,000 Level II charging stations in North America and hundreds of DC fast-charging stations, including along the pioneering West Coast Electric Highway, where the company supplies, installs and maintains the highway’s EV charging network.  AeroVironment is a leading supplier of high-power test systems used worldwide by automakers and advanced battery manufacturers to develop the next generation of electric vehicles and batteries.  To learn more please visit www.evsolutions.com.

About NRG eVgo

The NRG eVgoSM network gives electric vehicle (EV) owners new freedom and range confidence via home and workplace charging docks, plus a network of fast charging stations conveniently located at retailers along major transportation corridors within eVgo cities. Service plans offered by eVgo can provide EV owners a home or workplace charger and use of eVgo’s Freedom Station® sites and other public charging stations. eVgo is a wholly owned subsidiary of NRG Energy, Inc., a Fortune 500 company at the forefront of changing how people think about, buy and use energy. Through eVgo, NRG will provide access to hundreds of public charging sites across California, Texas and the greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. To find out more, or to join the eVgo network, visit www.nrgeVgo.com. Connect with eVgo on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @nrgeVgo. 

This article is a repost, credit: Nissan.

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U.S. Parking Facilities Cut Energy Use by 90 Percent, Switch 270 Million Square Feet to Energy Efficient Lighting

April 16, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Greentech

Safeco Field Seattle Mariners’ Safeco Field has reduced its carbon footprint via the installation of a 32.76-kW rooftop solar array. Since installing 168 solar panels on its elevator canopy of the parking garage and roof of the skybridge last April, the Mariners have been generating electricity for its internal televisions and monitors. The system generates 40,000 kWh of electricity annually. The project also installed high efficiency lighting and EV charging stations for the public. Caption credit DOE Photo courtesy of Ben VanHouten, Seattle Mariners

Safeco Field
Seattle Mariners’ Safeco Field has reduced its carbon footprint via the installation of a 32.76-kW rooftop solar array. Since installing 168 solar panels on its elevator canopy of the parking garage and roof of the skybridge last April, the Mariners have been generating electricity for its internal televisions and monitors. The system generates 40,000 kWh of electricity annually. The project also installed high efficiency lighting and EV charging stations for the public.
Caption credit DOE
Photo courtesy of Ben VanHouten, Seattle Mariners

WASHINGTON – As part of the Energy Department’s commitment to helping U.S. businesses save money by saving energy, the Department’s Better Buildings Alliance is supporting the Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking (LEEP) Campaign. To date, more than 100 U.S. businesses and organizations are participating in the campaign and planning or installing energy efficient lighting in their parking lots and garages. In the past year, these organizations have committed to install efficient lighting across more than 270 million square feet of parking space – cutting energy use by up to 90 percent.

“By making parking lots and garages more energy efficient, our partners in the Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking Campaign are saving energy, improving their bottom lines and serving as models for other organizations to increase the use of energy efficiency in their communities,” said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson.

Building owners spend more than $6 billion to light their parking lots and garages, and much of this could be saved if parking lots and garages were upgraded to the most efficient lighting solutions. LEEP Campaign participants have upgraded their facilities to high efficiency metal halide, fluorescent, and LED solutions that last three times longer than their previous technology and by using controls are able to reduce energy use when parking facilities are not in use. Through the LEEP Campaign, the Energy Department’s Better Buildings Alliance, the Building Owners and Managers Association, the Green Parking Council and the International Facility Management Association are working together to help owners of parking lots and garages upgrade to energy efficient lighting.

Today, the Energy Department joined LEEP Campaign co-organizers to recognize 12 organizations for leading the way in efficient lighting. Combined, these 12 winners are saving nearly 45 million kilowatt-hours and $4 million per year by upgrading to high efficiency lighting in 500,000 parking spaces nationwide.

Since 2009, the Energy Department’s Better Buildings Alliance has provided technical assistance to help building and parking facility owners and managers install energy efficient lighting. Find more information on the Energy Department’s broader efforts to save money by saving energy at U.S. parking facilities and a full list of the organizations recognized today.

This article is a repost, credit: US DOE.