Shaheen touts Nashua's energy-efficiency moves
By Simon RiosJune 1, 2012
NASHUA — U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., touted Nashua's advances in energy efficiency as a model for the country during a meeting with community leaders Thursday to discuss her Energy Savings and Competitiveness Act.
Following a tour of city hall's energy improvements with the mayor, Shaheen said, "My interest is to make sure that all cities can be as thoughtful about their energy use as Nashua has been."
Shaheen's energy bill, which she is co-sponsoring with Republican Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, is aimed at creating jobs by boosting energy efficiency in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.
"By 2020, it would help create 80,000 jobs and save consumers about $4 billion a year because you'll use off-the-shelf technologies that are available now and would put people to work," Shaheen said.
In theory, the initiative would create a total of 159,000 jobs by 2030 and save consumers $60 billion. Shaheen said it would come at no cost to taxpayers — funding would derive from federal grants that have not been used by grantees.
Mayor Donnalee Lozeau boasted of the city's achievements in the use of clean energy. "Without help from the federal government, we would not have been able to leverage the dollars that we have in this community for the betterment of the community," she said.
City hall's 1938 windows have been replaced in addition to a new roof and HVAC system, Lozeau said. She is also overseeing the replacement of the city's diesel trash trucks with vehicles that run on compressed natural gas. Seven trash trucks now run on CNG with nine more in the pipeline.
Lozeau talked about the current push to produce methane at the city's landfill. "In my perfect world … we'd be scrubbing our own methane from either our landfill or our wastewater treatment plant and filling our own trucks with our own CNG."
Also present at the meeting were representatives of the Nashua Chamber of Commerce, the Nashua School District, Turn Cycle Solutions and the Community Development Finance Authority.
Denis Gleeson of the Nature of Things, a "green school" in Nashua, said he is focusing on young people getting out of college, some 50 percent of whom are unemployed. "I'm thinking this (energy bill) is obviously a great idea, but is there any training coming out of colleges?"
Shaheen said a piece of the bill would allow for training in energy efficiency.
The senator said she built her house during the Iranian oil crisis in 1979. It was built with a solar passive design, triple-pane windows, a boiler that burns wood and even garbage if necessary, all of which she received tax credits for. As governor, Shaheen took this to the state level by retrofitting old buildings and "saving significant amounts of money as well as pollution."
Shaheen said, "New Hampshire, because we're a state with a lot of older buildings, we have a higher percentage than average in the country of individual dwellings, so that energy efficiency in buildings is more important for us than it is for a lot of other places."
With the passage of the bipartisan bill — which was approved 18-3 in the Senate Natural Energy and Resources Committee in September —sponsors hope to see a transition to a more energy-efficient economy, as well as an increase in economic competitiveness and energy security in the coming decades.
The bill's implementation could reduce demand for electricity and cut carbon-dioxide emissions to the equivalent of taking 21 million cars off the road, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.