Statement of Filson H. Glanz, Professor emeritus of Electrical Engineering
University of New Hampshire
to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
Dear Senator Smith and the other members of the Committee: It was a pleasure to attended your hearing on innovative energy technologies held in the Strafford room of the Memorial Union Building on the University of New Hampshire on May 30, 2001. The following statement is intended for the record of that hearing.
There is so much that we could be doing to relieve our energy problems; and we will in the future undoubtedly be much harder pressed than we are now. When a billion or so Chinese start driving automobiles, the demand for increasingly scarce oil will drive the price well beyond today1s high prices. Using more oil and coal are environmentally destructive and only temporary solutions. We, as a nation, must do all the research we can to improve energy efficiency, come up with sustainable energy sources (such as solar, wind, ocean wave, bio fuel, etc.) and innovative technologies that use these sources. It makes no sense to cut back research funds for these types of energy programs as the President1s budget calls for. If we had put as much into these renewable technologies as we have put into tax breaks and subsidies for coal and oil, we would now be benefitting from their use.
There was at the hearing some discussion of short term and long-term energy needs and the different approaches needed to solve both types. This is clearly the case. But all long-term energy needs become short-term needs if inappropriate solutions are followed. I well remember, as most of you surely do also, the 1974 embargo on oil and the problems we faced then. We made some amazing progress toward energy efficiency and alternative energy in the years thereafter. Unfortunately, about 1980 a new administration killed the programs spawned by this emergency and since the problem was past, all memory was lost. But if, for example, we had put in appropriate national building regulations at that time, our energy dependency on foreign oil would be considerably different.
Even in New Hampshire a building with some thermal mass and the correct solar orientation and fenestration would use less than half the energy of a standard equivalent building. This is well documented. And the cost is almost the same. The large number of new homes and buildings constructed since say 1980, and the fact that most places in the U.S. could save well more than 50% on heating energy, means that we could be saving great amounts of energy with the nice consequence that heating bills would be lower, the air cleaner and our oil dependency much less. Add to this that if CAFE standards had been followed as originally intended - our total energy picture would be very rosy! It is my belief that the American people and history should hold administrations and public officials accountable for NOT planning consistently for future energy independence! But at least we have to opportunity right now to start preparing for the long term (which will be short term soon enough!). Many of the technologies discussed in the hearing do just that. But other technologies can also contribute such as passive solar heating of space, solar heating of water, day lighting of buildings, natural convective cooling, and so forth, all of which are well understood and economically beneficial besides being environmentally beneficial. But they need exposure to everyday Americans by public officials.
In summary, we cannot afford to ignore the environmental and energy problems that we have created by our lack of public resolve. We must solve them in a way that leaves our future generations a livable country/world and the resources they will need to have a healthy and satisfying life.
Thank you for the opportunity to submit this statement.
Sincerely, Filson H. Glanz,
Professor emeritus of Electrical Engineering
25 Orchard Drive
Durham, NH 03824