By Mary Olson

When advisor Dave Freeman helped President Carter navigate the rough waters of the 1970s oil crisis his compass was to find energy that is produced but does not perform a useful function – and stop that waste. Like pumping gasoline on the ground much of our electric power capacity today is effectively wasted.

How is power dumped? An un-insulated roof or leaky old windows cause a furnace to work too hard; newer appliances and industrial motors use a fraction of the juice, paying for themselves many times over (once is savings, more is profit). The trick is that wasted energy when “saved” is “here” and available for another purpose…since it is already generated there is no additional pollution or toxic waste, and also no need to build a new power plant; it is pure “cream.”

North Carolina is awash in power we already have, that is not being used. Imagine an economy nearly twice the size on what we generate today – or alternately a fraction of the power we have now supporting what we do today – possible? Yes. Architects Mike Nicklaus in NC, and Steven Strong nationally, design buildings that not only use less power, they save a system as much energy as they use: net zero.

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