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The Observer paper 11/21/14

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Home arrow Opinion arrow Our View arrow WE CAN TRY HARDER TO CONSERVE ENERGY

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WE CAN TRY HARDER TO CONSERVE ENERGY

Energy conservation is working. But it must work even better as power rates go up. Residents and businesses in the Northwest have saved enough power in the past two decades to light up two Seattles, plus a McMinnville.

"The region's accomplishments are impressive, but we are far from having done it all," said Northwest Power Planning Council Chairwoman Judi Danielson.

With electric rates going up as announced Thursday by Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative, many customers should be looking for additional ways to save, not only to protect their wallets but to conserve the resource.

Some of the biggest measures to save implemented recently include new energy efficient building codes, and more efficient manufactured houses and major appliances. Portland and Seattle have conserved energy by switching from light bulbs to low-energy, light-emitting diodes in those cities' myriad traffic lights.

Some of the biggest energy wasters in the Northwest include commercial refrigeration. Improvements in technology here will yield big energy savings in the future.

In what ways can we improve energy efficiency to make the Northwest's future brighter? Building designs can improve. Consumers can continue to replace their standard light bulbs with energy-saving fluorescent lights. Heating and air conditioning can be used more efficiently, and water heaters can be turned down a couple of degrees.

There are other ways to save energy that don't require a big, up-front investment. One example is hanging clothes on a clothesline to dry. This practice is still common in Great Britain, which has a climate similar to the Northwest's.

Becoming aggressive in saving energy is important. It could help us avoid future crises.

Prom night wrong

Roman Catholic clergy and parents in Hermiston are up in arms over Hermiston High School's scheduling of its spring prom for this coming Saturday.

Normally a Saturday evening works well for a junior-senior prom. But this year, the dance was scheduled the night before Easter on a day that is viewed by some churches as Holy Saturday. It may not be a problem if the prom ended at 10 p.m. and students were tucked away in their homes by midnight. Prom celebrations, however, sometimes extend well beyond midnight.

The church and parents are correct in assuming that prom-goers will not exactly be bright-eyed and ready to pop out of bed to go to church Sunday morning. Schools must be sensitive in scheduling their events. They must not only look at coordinating a prom with athletic contests, but must look closely at the calendar with the entire community in mind.

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