Don’t Let National Ceiling Fan Day Blow By Without Realizing its Importance

While many homes have ceiling fans, its possible homeowners don't often think about their importance. Our friends at Fanimation in Zionsville are hosting a party on August 17 to celebrate ceiling fan awareness, and have passed along some critical facts you should consider when it comes to keeping your home cool:

On August 17, 2013, Fanimation is hosting an awareness party to promote the first annual National Ceiling Fan Day to be held on September 18, 2013. The purpose of the day is to educate the American public about the benefits of ceiling fan usage. Studies published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommend using ceiling fans to reduce or eliminate the need to use air conditioning because ceiling fans consume far less electricity. Many Fanimation ceiling fans consume 30-50 watts during operation while air conditioning systems can use upwards of 5,000 watts. If every American turned off their air conditioning for one day and utilized fans for their cooling needs, the United States would save over three trillion kilowatt hours of energy consumption…

The National Ceiling Fan Day Awareness Party is a free event held at Fanimation’s headquarters and is open to the public. Fanimation has organized fun activities for all ages. There will be live music, prizes, vintage cars and bicycles on display, free food catered by Dashboard Diner, a caricaturist and a Kids Zone with bicycle helmet fittings, energy awareness activities and face painting. Attendees are also welcome to tour Fanimation’s antique fan museum located on site. The party will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 10983 Bennett Pkwy Zionsville, IN 46077.

President of Fanimation, Nathan Frampton says, “Fanimation hopes to inspire the public to turn down their air conditioners and turn on their fans. They will notice immediate impacts on their electricity bills and they will also help the environment.” He adds, “We as a society have grown dependent on air conditioners, we use them in our cars and then continue relying on them at home.  America’s increased reliance on central air and the escalating cost of energy inspired Fanimation to initiate the first annual National Ceiling Fan Day on September 18, 2013.”

Also, here are some key facts to keep in mind:

  • 94 million of the 113.6 million residential homes in the United States use air conditioning equipment and 110.1 million use space heating equipment.* Studies published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommend using ceiling fans to reduce or eliminate the need to use air conditioning because ceiling fans consume significantly less electricity.
  • If every American turned off their air conditioning for one day and utilized only ceiling, floor, desk or wall fans the U.S. would save over three trillion kilowatt hours of energy consumption!
  • Energy consumption (data published by General Electric)
    Electric furnace: 17,221 watts
    Central air: 5,000 watts
    Ceiling fan: 30 watts
  • Monthly Energy Cost (based on 15 cents/kilowatt hour)
    Electric furnace @ 5 hrs/day: $392.85
    Central air @ 5 hrs/day: $114.06
    Ceiling fan @ 24 hrs/day: $3.30

For more information on ceiling fans or if you're interested in purchasing one, contact Fanimation business development manager Teal Cracraft at teal@fanimation.com.

Indiana Can Win the Water Battle

(The following column from Vince Griffin, our VP of environment and energy, appeared in the Inside INdiana Business newsletter.)

Wouldn't it be nice if every time you got in your car, you had a full tank of gas? You wouldn't have to worry about where you were going to fill up next or how much it was going to cost. Unfortunately, this is how most Hoosiers view the state's water supply.

Right now Hoosiers are using water with little to no regard for where it will come from in the future. Most people take for granted everyday things such as how they are able to have water available every time they turn on the faucet. As the most manufacturing-intensive state in the country, Indiana uses vast amounts of water each day to keep its economic engine operating. The aquifers and rivers also support agricultural production in Indiana that contributes almost $38 billion to the state's economy.

This abundant resource may become unreliable if we do not take the proper steps now. Indiana, along with other states east of the Mississippi River, currently doesn't have a plan that secures its long-term water supply.

A clear and concise strategy is required for getting water to Hoosiers who will need it most. In order to do this, three questions must be answered:

1. Where is the water?
2. Who needs the water?
3. How do we get the water to where it is needed at the right time?

Central and southern Indiana have fewer aquifers than the northern half of the state. Without some policy that promotes regional distribution systems, development could be geographically constrained. Regional supplies would alleviate those concerns.

The Ohio River could serve as one resource. Twelve billion gallons of water flow through several Indiana cities and towns that sit on the river. At several points along the Ohio, there are ranney wells built during World War II to collect water from the river. But they have not been used in recent years. By adding pumps to these wells and building a system to distribute the water farther north, future shortages could be addressed.

Other options also would be available. All would be focused on moving the water to where it is needed. Doing so will help stabilize the economic performance of southern Indiana.

Lessons can be learned from Texas. Despite experiencing a tremendous population growth, it has no usable water source. In order to combat this problem, the state is divided into water regions. The supplies being used by each are closely tracked and, depending on consumption, water moved to the regions that need it most. This system allows for continued economic growth as potential shortages are addressed.

While there are future challenges, now is a time of opportunity. Unlike many areas of the country, Indiana has water resources. We can invent our energy and water future by taking charge and planning for the future.

Senate Enrolled Act 132 in 2012, which enables the state to gather information from water utilities, will help policymakers make informed decisions. The data also will help the utilities make smart choices when it comes to distributing their resources. Utilities submitted their surveys earlier this year, and the combined findings will be reported in September.

By being proactive, Indiana can become an example for others to follow. Early commitment is also critical as projects to distribute water supplies, while tremendously beneficial, will be costly.

In a recent speech, Dr. Jack Wittman, a national water expert based in Bloomington, summed up the importance of creating a water plan: "The first state, east of the Mississippi, to come up with a plan is the winner."

Indiana has the opportunity to be that winner. The state will soon have the data; it then needs to use it. The goal is to have a plan in the next two years, then execute it to secure the water future for all Hoosiers.

Americans Say ‘Yes’ to Keystone XL

If public sentiment is a factor in the Obama admistration's final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, it's time to let the oil flow. The latest survey results are consistent with previous polls, except that the numbers in support continue to grow to even higher levels.

The United Technologies/National Journal survey says:

While the Obama administration mulls whether to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, Americans are already decided. They support the project by a wide margin, prioritizing potential economic benefits over possible environmental consequences.

The poll finds that more than two-thirds of respondents, 67 percent, support building the pipeline to carry Canadian oil to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast; that includes 56 percent of Democrats. Less than a quarter of Americans, 24 percent, oppose the project, the poll shows.

The State Department is evaluating the proposal, and President Obama said last month that the pipeline should not be permitted if it leads to a significant increase in greenhouse-gas emissions. There is no timeline for a decision, but the State Department says it is evaluating the project in "a rigorous, transparent, and efficient manner."

In the question posed by interviewers, poll respondents were told that Keystone supporters "say it will ease America's dependence on Mideast oil and create jobs," while opponents "fear the environmental impact" of building the pipeline.

Congressional Republicans have been prodding the administration to approve Keystone, with the GOP House holding a symbolic vote in support of the pipeline in May. (That measure won unanimous support from Republicans, save for one member who voted "present," while 19 Democrats also voted in favor.)

Chamber Scores Hoosier Legislators on 2013 Voting Records

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce handed out scores today to all 150 state legislators for their voting records on pro-economy, pro-jobs legislation during the 2013 General Assembly. The numbers, released in the organization’s annual Legislative Vote Analysis, also contain a two-year total for each legislator.

The 2013 scores range from 44% to 100%. House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-District 88 of Indianapolis), who votes at his discretion and therefore was scored on fewer bills, was the lone perfect mark. The highest full-time voting record for 2013 was Rep. Ed Clere (R-District 72 of New Albany) at 97%. The top senator was Joe Zakas (R-District 11 of Granger) at 87%. Last year, there were 15 legislators with 100%.

The reason for the slightly lower vote scores overall is the type of public policies on the docket, observes Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar.

“The issues in 2013 were more complex and less partisan in nature. Two examples involved the Common Core academic standards and the ratepayer protection for the Rockport synthetic natural gas plant. Both were highly complicated – containing various provisions – and had significant supporters and opponents in both parties. This could very well be a sign of things to come.”

All scores and the full report are available at the Indiana Chamber’s web site at www.indianachamber.com/lva.

Brinegar also points out that the Senate scores, on average, were notably lower than in recent years. “That happened because the Senate watered down several crucial bills or simply refused to move other pro-jobs bills altogether.

“What’s more, the gap between the top (87%) and bottom (60%) scores in the Senate was closer this year, as Democrat scores increased overall while Republicans went down,” he notes.

“All in all, however, it was another successful session for Hoosier businesses and their workers. Legislators, for the most part, voted to grow jobs and move our state forward – and the results show it.”

A total of 19 legislators also received a star designation for their significant efforts on issues deemed of critical importance or their overall leadership. Among them: Speaker Bosma and first-term House Minority Leader Scott Pelath (D-District 9 of Michigan City) who together championed the Indiana Career Council legislation.

Says Brinegar of Pelath: “He brought a breath of fresh air to the House and it was noticeable. From our perspective, things were much more focused on policy issues than political issues.”

New this year in the vote descriptions is a 2025 icon next to those bills that directly reflect the goals contained in the Indiana Chamber’s long-term economic development plan, Indiana Vision 2025.

“We do the Legislative Vote Analysis to keep Hoosier employers and citizens informed about what’s going on at the Indiana Statehouse and how their legislators are voting on issues vital to Indiana’s economic future. This report makes it clear which legislators support pro-job growth and pro-business issues, and which legislators do not,” Brinegar explains.

Legislators who score 70% or greater for the most recent two-year voting period are eligible for endorsement by the Indiana Chamber’s political action committee, Indiana Business for Responsive Government.

Bills used in the report were selected based on their significant impact to the state’s economic climate and workforce. Lawmakers are notified of the Indiana Chamber position and reasoning on these bills through various communications during the legislative session – and prior to key votes being taken. Only floor votes for which there is a public record are used in the Legislative Vote Analysis.

Copies of the Legislative Vote Analysis report are sent to all legislators and Indiana Chamber board members, and made available online for all businesspersons, community leaders and citizens.

This marks the 29th year the Indiana Chamber has measured state legislators’ voting performance on bills that reflect the organization’s public policy positions.

From One Chief Executive to Another on Coal and Carbon Dioxide

Frequent readers here or of other Chamber communications have no doubt taken notice of the alarming Washington trend of government by regulation. Numerous reports, the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Ten Thousand Commandments among the latest, have examined this dangerous development. Congress may be deadlocked, but government agencies are the ones putting the stranglehold on businesses in Indiana and throughout the country.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence weighed in this week with a letter to President Obama regarding carbon dioxide standards that are being considered by the Environmental Protection Agency. Pence writes, in part, that the "EPA is proposing a rule that will constrain any potential for an all of the above energy strategy and harm our economy in the process."

The Governor points out that Indiana will be particularly impacted because of its status as one of the leading manufacturing states. While the energy mix has been diversified, coal will remain the major source of electricity. Pence says, "The coal industry and electricity providers have made great strides toward lower emissions, and, as we replace our aging electricity generation plants, I have no doubt that we will find ways to lower emissions even further."

View the full letter – and let's hope Washington pays attention!

Rockport Plant a Complex Issue in 2013

While there was quite a bit of activity in the environmental area in the 2013 Indiana legislative session, there was little heavy lifting and relatively few changes to environmental law. Yes, it is a work in progress, but Indiana business and industry has done so much to reduce its air, land and water emissions that there are fewer and fewer legislative fixes needed. Still, watch for a number of issues to be studied this summer by the Environmental Quality Service Council (EQSC).

Water and wastewater issues are of concern to the Indiana Chamber. Related to that, there were a number of legislative items addressing the wonderful world of water and sewage. The struggle is between those who are not on a sewer system and those who want them to be. There were also several bills to address the overcharging by water and wastewater utilities of those outside the jurisdiction of the municipality. The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) was added to the current court system as an avenue to take a grievance.

Rockport Plant
The energy arena provided much more drama: At the center, the proposed nearly $3 billion Rockport coal gasification facility on the Ohio River in Spencer County, which generated strong non-partisan emotions. Senator Doug Eckerty (R-Yorktown) and Rep. Suzanne Couch (R-Evansville) were the Senate and House champions who stood strong against an emotional plea from those in the Rockport area. The Indiana Chamber is not opposed to the Rockport project and well-recognizes the potential positive economic development with the plant construction, coal mining jobs and related transportation. However, the funding formula for this project is flawed – any losses at the plant would be paid for by the state’s two million residential and small/medium-sized business taxpayers for some 30 years. Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) called the Rockport bill the most complex issue to face the General Assembly this year and, in fact, held the final third reading vote until after the state budget was approved in the House; it was the very last bill for consideration at nearly 1:30 a.m. on Saturday,
April 27. The Indiana Chamber joined forces with the Indiana Manufacturers Association and Indiana Farm Bureau in support of the Rockport bill that, in the end, passed the House by a convincing 70-28 vote and the Senate by a 43-7 margin.

It contains much-needed additional protections to ensure that small/medium-sized businesses and residential ratepayers will not pay excessive additional rates for the natural gas produced by this plant (if it is built).

The major bill for the electric power industry was SB 560. The Indiana Chamber was neutral as the language carried a “tracker” provision which allows an expense to be tracked most directly into a ratepayer’s bill without a rate case. The Indiana Chamber has members on both sides of this issue. Senate Bill 560 allows the expenses related to “transmission and distribution system improvement charges” (TDSIC) to be “tracked” into bills but requires the utility to submit a seven-year plan and present a full rate case to the IURC within that seven years (if it uses the tracking mechanism).

Interim Activity
The legislative summer committees will likely see many environmental and energy issues as some of the legislative attempts were punted to the summer study docket and other items discussed will probably show up on the agenda. Senator Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso) will likely chair the EQSC this summer and has clearly stated his interest in addressing a variety of topics. Some of the items that are already identified that may be studied in the EQSC or other legislative summer study committees include: agricultural fugitive dust, consolidation of all water management functions under one agency, single point of contact for Indiana Department of Environmental Management 401 certification and Department of Natural Resources flood control, small modular nuclear reactors, non-jurisdictional water and wastewater rates and charges, and Indiana’s water plan status.

Bringing the Wind Energy to Indiana

For the May-June issue of BizVoice magazine, I had the opportunity to write some stories on energy issues of the day. When energy is the topic, the focus normally is on the source of the power (coal, gas, nuclear, etc.). One of my pieces dealt with the need for enhanced transmission to move the electricity to where it is needed.

A potential newcomer to the transmission mix in Indiana is the Grain Belt Express Clean Line. This 700-mile overhead, high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line will deliver wind energy from Kansas to Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and states farther east. Starting in western Kansas, the line will connect at a substation near Sullivan in western Indiana.

The Indiana Chamber is supporting Grain Belt, a $2 billion project that the company says would enable $7 billion in investment in new wind farms and provide power for 1.4 million homes. Approximately 200 businesses in Indiana are involved in the wind energy and transmission supply chains.

The HVDC is said to be most efficient over long distances. It requires a narrower right of way, resulting in lower cost transmission and prices. Clean Line will fund the transmission and sell the capacity to wind generators and load-serving entities.

As noted in the upcoming BizVoice article, transmission approval and construction is a long-term process. Grain Belt requested public utility status in Indiana in November 2012, allowing it to operate, manage and control transmission facilities. Commerical operations could begin as early as 2017.

Racing to Discover New Energy Technologies

The combination of motorsports and advanced vehicle technologies has one of its homes in Indiana and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The tradition of applying lessons learned at the racetrack to the cars we drive on the road is a long one.

Nationally, federal workers are being highlighted for their work in this area. The subject of this profile is Forrest Jehlik, lauded for his expertise in alternative fuels. An excerpt below and the full story.

Jehlik said many decisions that are made in the political and commercial arenas regarding energy sources and auto technology are not always based on the best science, but driven by economic considerations and the power of vested interests. He said his federal energy laboratory engages in pure research and makes its findings widely available, letting the results speak for themselves.

“We are not paid if hydrogen or ethanol wins out. We look at the technology and the fuels and see what works,” said Jehlik. “That’s what makes us unique.”

 

Keystone Pipeline Being Reconsidered; Tell Your Members of Congress it’s Important

The Obama administration is seriously considering reversing its January 2012 rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline project. A revised environmental impact statement from the State Department significantly eases environmental objections and opens the door for approval on a new application and revised route for the pipeline.

Opponents, most notably environmental extremists, have aggressively mobilized protests, lobbying and grassroots pressure on Congress and the President to kill the project. The White House is again under intense pressure and needs to hear from supporters of U.S. energy independence and the pipeline project.

The Indiana and U.S. economies are dependent upon reliable energy. Indiana has long been a leader in the energy and transportation industries. Low cost reliable sources of energy are critical to Indiana’s large and small businesses. Virtually every manufacturing process uses petroleum products as lubricants, parts, molds or finished products.

The $7 billion proposed Keystone XL project would construct a 1,700 mile pipeline to transport about 800,000 barrels a day of heavy crude oil from tar sand fields in Canada across the central U.S. to refineries on the Gulf Coast. The project is estimated to create more than 250,000 jobs and is supported by a broad coalition of business and labor organizations.

Recently, 53 members of the U.S. Senate, including nine Democrats, signed a letter to President Obama in support of the project. “We urge you to choose jobs, economic development and American energy security . . . there is no reason to deny or further delay this long-studied project,” they wrote. Nearly 70% of American voters support building the pipeline.

The new State Department statement predicts that Canada will continue to develop the oil sands and sell to other nations whether the U.S. allows the Keystone XL pipeline or not. Canada already provides more oil to the U.S. than all Persian Gulf countries combined. A new pipeline project would strengthen and expand this already productive and vital energy relationship. Not to mention, sourcing more of our energy from a friendly, democratic and North American neighbor will help reduce our reliance on energy resources from less stable areas of the world.

Call to Action: Send a message to President Obama and your members of Congress to urge approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline!

People Speak Out on Keystone Pipeline

After four-plus years of debate and frustration, many are aware of the possibilities of the Keystone Pipeline. The administration has a second chance to approve this important project. If it listens to the people. The American Petroleum Institute reports:

The Keystone XL pipeline makes sense to the nation. Sixty-nine percent of American voters favor building the pipeline, while 83 percent believe it would strengthen our energy security and 92 percent agree jobs are important when considering the project, according to a recent Harris Interactive poll.

Strong majorities of voters in both political parties and among independents support building the pipeline, the poll also found. And the vast majority of voters polled understand the need to link up Canadian crude oil supplies with U.S. refineries and consider it important that most dollars spent on Canadian oil by America return to the U.S. when Canadians use them to buy American goods and services.