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Secretary-designate Steven Chu joins League of Conservation Voters Education Fund Clean Energy Event on National Day of Service

Contact: Joshua McNeil, (202) 785-8683 or January 19, 2009  

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund; the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Principal Dwan Jordon, Kelly & Sons Electrical Construction; the government of Washington, DC; Standard Solar; SunPower; Wal-Mart Inc.; Waste Management Inc.; and Washington Gas Energy Services joined together to participate in the National Day of Service.  Working to increase the energy efficiency of hundreds of homes in a DC neighborhood and to begin to install solar panels at Sousa Junior High School, the partnership represented the future of America’s economy in microcosm.     Secretary of Energy-designate Steven Chu and Congressman Ben R. Lujan (D-NM) spoke with volunteers at the event.

“What you’re doing today is the single most important thing we can be doing in the coming decades – promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy,” Secretary-designate Chu said.  “Years ago, communities came together to raise a neighbor’s barn.  In the future, I hope that communities will come together, like you are today, to weatherize each other’s homes, to conserve energy, make homes more comfortable, save money, and save the planet.”

“John Phillip Sousa Junior High School was one of the schools involved in the fight to desegregate our schools,” Congressman Lujan said.  “Today, we are able to unobtrusively power this historic building with 21st century technology.  Tomorrow, we will begin to power every school, every government building, and soon, every home with clean, renewable energy.”

“When government, non-profits, and business work together to promote clean energy and energy efficiency, anything is possible,” LCV President Gene Karpinski said.  “What we did today foreshadowed the incredible economic potential of President-elect Obama’s plan to create hundreds of thousands of jobs by investing in clean, renewable energy.”

“This demonstration project marks the beginning of a US Department of Energy Solar Showcase Program to install solar on many schools,” said Jack Warner, Director of the DC Department of the Environment Energy Office.

Technicians from Standard Solar began to install more than $20,000 of solar panels and equipment, donated by Standard Solar, Washington Gas Energy Services and SunPower, while volunteer IBEW electricians employed by John Kelly & Sons Electrical Construction began to install an inverter and make adjustments to the school’s wiring to ensure that the panels would work with the existing structure.  The equipment will be completed and operational in the coming weeks.

“The IBEW has hundreds of thousands of members  – trained in their field – ready, willing and able to help take America into a future where clean, renewable energy is the norm,” said IBEW International President Edwin D. Hill.

“With solar generated electricity as a significant new energy source, we will create hundreds of thousands of ‘green collar’ jobs, help modernize our aging electrical grid, reduce greenhouse gases, and help get our economy moving again,” President and CEO Anthony Clifford of Standard Solar said.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart Inc. contributed $50,000 worth of energy efficient goods, including compact fluorescent light bulbs, weatherization packs, and efficient showerheads.  Waste Management Inc. donated more than $3,300 in kits to recycle batteries and florescent light bulbs.  More than 100 volunteers from LCVEF and these partners delivered efficiency packages to 850 homes in the surrounding neighborhood.

“At a national level, energy efficiency can help improve our economy and protect the environment,” said Councilmember Yvette Alexander.  “At the local level, efficiency can save families hundreds of dollars in energy costs every year.  This project not only helped the families who received the efficiency kits, it helped spread the word to the whole neighborhood that energy efficiency can help cut costs.” 

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