To the Editor:

I believe that public funds for public buildings should, as a decision priority, demand climate mitigation in all new construction energy systems. The Ellensburg School District construction bonds and the CWU Health Sciences building are two examples which would qualify for this proposal.

Some might think that this construction, in the scheme of things, doesn’t matter. To that opinion I would offer the following example.

I have in my home 10, 60-watt light bulbs. If one bulb is turned on for eight hours a day, it will use 175 kWh per year of electricity. For energy evaluations see rapidtables.com, then Calculators, Electrical Calculators, and Energy Consumption Calculator. This costs about me about $17.50 per year, if my energy costs 10 cents a kWh.

Similarly, we can compare other appliances with costs like this, but money doesn’t show the whole picture.

According to the Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator located at epa.gov/energy and then select the calculator, not using 175 kWh per year of electricity will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by .124 metric tons, which is equivalent to 303 miles driven by car or 13.9 gallons of gasoline burned.

But wait: that’s what I’ll save with only one 60 watt light bulb. I have 10 in my home, so total consumption is actually 1,750 kWh per year. This reduces carbon emissions by 1.2 metric tons, or the equivalent of over 3,000 miles driven in a car or 139 gallons of gasoline burned.

Now the math magic happens. Imagine 200,000 homes turning off 10, 60-watt light bulbs for a year. That would reduce carbon emissions by 247,000 tons of carbon dioxide which is equivalent to 605,000 miles driven by car or 28 million — yes million — gallons of gasoline burned.

One light bulb, in this example, matters. If every new construction project installed clean energy systems, the cumulative effect will make significant contributions to carbon reduction.

So to those who might say that these local projects, "don’t matter in the scheme of things," I would ask them to reconsider.

To the leadership controlling these new construction projects: please expand the scope of your construction decisions prioritizing carbon reduction. While money is a factor in these decisions, it should not be the only consideration, in light of our looming climate emergency.

Everything we do matters. Everything we don’t do, matters more.

Meghan Anderson

Ellensburg

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