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Health, Science & Environment

Energy Future Means Conservation: Envision Utah

Judy Fahys/KUER
Damian Mora, shown here in a mechanical closet of a highly efficient home, sees many benefits for homeowners who choose energy-efficient designs.

The nonprofit Envision Utah asked people last spring what they think about the future of energy. One surprising result was the growing importance of conservation.

It’s a trend already apparent to Damian Mora, energy coordinator for Garbett Homes. He’s giving a tour of one of the super-efficient homes his company’s built in the Daybreak development in southwestern Salt Lake County.

“We exceed local codes,” he says, “and we meet and exceed Energy Star just by choice.”

By building homes with thicker walls, low-energy lighting and high-efficiency appliances, Mora’s on the front edge of a quiet revolution toward energy efficiency. Envision Utah’s survey revealed that Utahns expect to be meeting 30 percent of their energy needs through conservation as the state’s population doubles by 2050.

Envision Utah CEO Bob Grow says Utahns are part of a national trend, drifting from coal generation toward natural gas, renewables and conservation.

“Perhaps more change is occurring on how we will produce energy in the future than any of the other topics we looked at,” says Grow. “And I was surprised, actually, at how sophisticated Utahns were at sort of balancing the choices.”

Envision Utah found Utahns expect natural gas to continue growing as a portion of the energy mix. And they want more green energy as long as it doesn’t get too expensive. About two thirds of the 53,000 Utahns who weighed in on the Envision Utah survey said they were at least somewhat willing to pay more for green energy that cut pollution.

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