While the United States Environmental Protection Agency is the best-known organization charged with protecting our nation’s environment and natural resources, there are many other agencies that contribute to the environmental cause. These agencies are concerned with different facets of environmental protection, from the energy sector as a whole to efficient building practices.
Rusty Tweed, a solar energy expert, explores six different agencies concerned with environmental protection and describes what they are doing to make the world a better place.
1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in charge of the government’s overarching environmental response. This regulatory agency creates environmental policies for the U.S. government. The EPA balances the need for a healthier environment with the concerns of today’s business leaders.
Some current projects of the EPA include promoting safe drinking water, reducing environmental emissions caused by factories and other industrial sources, and cleaning up Superfund and brownfield sites across the country.
In the future, the EPA plans to put its effort into creative ways to reduce emissions. Low-cost, portable sensors may revolutionize air quality monitoring. These sensors may be borrowed from the EPA and other government agencies. These sensors will increase the public’s knowledge of the types of air pollution that are prevalent in the environment today.
Another new program proposed by the EPA is the Healthy Schools Grant Program. This program will target resources toward identifying problems in the nation’s schools, as well as assessing and resolving them.
2. U.S. Department of Energy
The U.S. Department of Energy is concerned with helping make the country more efficient. The Department of Energy promotes many environmentally-friendly programs, including the solar Investment Tax Credit and the Energy Star program for home and commercial appliances and fixtures.
The Investment Tax Credit provides up to 26 percent for qualified purchase and installation of solar panels and equipment. Combined with state and local incentives, this can be a powerful aid to any company’s budget.
Energy Star is a joint venture of the EPA and the Department of Energy. This program is concerned with making everyday products like dishwashers and air conditioners more efficient, saving money for their owners as well as reducing their energy use and environmental impact.
Future Department of Energy projects include encapsulating pipelines to avoid the possibility of spillage which would threaten the environment. Another major project that is in the works is a major nuclear fusion project at the DOE Princeton Laboratory.
The Department of Energy is also involved in making solar energy more efficient and affordable. The Department will fund 75 research projects with the goal of lowering solar costs. These projects will also boost solar manufacturing and reduce the red tape associated with energy tax credits.
3. United States Green Building Council
The United States Green Building Council is the agency in charge of the LEED standard. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED provides guidelines for highly efficient, healthy, cost-saving buildings that meet green standards.
Buildings with high LEED standards use less energy for heating and cooling costs. They use less electricity, and they are constructed with environmentally friendly components.
LEED is also associated with direct incentives. Some local areas have reduced or eliminated the fees for permit review and processing. Expedited permitting is also possible. The government also provides grants and revolving loans to companies building to LEED standards.
In the future, the program will transform and become more in-depth. The “LEED Positive” program will allow existing buildings to achieve certificates in certain categories like water and energy. This will allow older buildings to take part in LEED incentives if they meet these higher environmental standards.
4. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is part of the United Nations. This commission is in charge of the global response to the climate change crisis. The panel produces highly detailed scientific reports on the mechanics of climate change, including the global impact of greenhouse gases and temperature change over time.
5. Natural Resources Defense Council
The Natural Resources Defense Council or NRDC is a non-governmental nonprofit agency. The agency’s mission is to promote climate health and green energy, support human health and communities, promote environmental litigation, and understand the impact of human activity on the natural world. NRDC also funds scientific work.
Current projects of the NRDC include promoting clean drinking water, encouraging the use of electric versus gas-fueled vehicles, and supporting the proper recycling and disposal of e-waste.
Future projects of the NRDC are focused on greener power in China as well as in the United States. The agency is involved in the promotion of 21st century infrastructure, including the robust use of solar power.
Working together, these agencies promote environmental health around the world. From building standards to the promotion of solar energy, there are many steps that businesses can take to reduce their environmental impact and save money on energy. Installing solar panels can be beneficial when considering the lower cost of energy and the environmental impact of using fewer fossil fuels.
Rusty Tweed understands that many business owners are hesitant to invest money in solar energy and other environmentally friendly practices, but the payoff over time is worth it. Contacting these agencies for help, business owners will be able to upgrade their power systems and their facilities to become more environmentally friendly.