On Wednesday, October 21 at the Niagara Foundation, we hosted Howard A. Learner, the President and Executive Director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center. As part of the Chicago Global Family, Mr. Learner visited the office to sit down and discuss the recent advancements in technology that are promoting cleaner and more efficient energy use.
To begin the discussion, Mr. Learner introduced the background and mission of the Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC), which he founded in 1993. By working together as a team of policy advocates, attorneys, and communications experts, the ELPC covers many aspects in protecting the environment through sound policies that foster positive economic development.
Some of the major current plans that Mr. Learner discussed with us were the improvements in solar panel technology and the growing popularity of using smart thermostats in homes.
Over the years, solar panels have increased in efficiency by about 50% in providing clean energy, and the prices have reduced from around $4/watt to 0.60¢/watt, lending it to be a much more attractive source of renewable energy for businesses and homes across the world.
The ELPC recently initiated a movement to provide more smart thermostats to homes around the Midwest, by discounting one million of them through customer rebates amounting up to $120 per device. The smart thermostats reduce energy waste through better technology that adjusts the temperature of homes by recognizing when the home is or is not occupied and automatically adjusting temperatures to not waste energy. They also allow the users to control the temperatures of their homes through cellphone applications, so customers can adjust the temperature while away from home and save on energy costs
Mr. Learner also discussed with us the other matters ELPC focuses their efforts on, which involve, clean air, water, transportation, and climate change. For each of these areas of the environment, they establish and maintain projects to create optimal solutions to improve our nation’s ecosystems and influence the development of greater sustainable energy practices worldwide.
We would like to thank Howard A. Learner for visiting the Niagara Foundation and speaking with us about the inspiration behind the ELPC and all that they do to make our communities a cleaner and better place to live in. We look forward to working with him again as a member of the Chicago Global Family.
By Kelly Williams
Public & Global Affairs/Communications Intern