PNS Daily Newscast - July 3, 2020 

Economists say coronavirus disaster declarations may be the quickest path to reopening; militia groups use virus, Independence Day to recruit followers.

2020Talks - July 3, 2020 

Trump visits South Dakota's Black Hills, Mt. Rushmore today; nearby tribal leaders object, citing concerns over COVID-19 and a fireworks display. Plus, voter registration numbers are down from this time in 2016.

Crank those Air Conditioners - to Maximum Energy Efficiency

August 9, 2007

A cool, air-conditioned office or shopping mall may be a nice break from August heat, but it comes at a cost. A new lawsuit is calling on the U.S. Department of Energy to require higher energy-efficiency standards for new air conditioners and heat pumps in commercial buildings.

Tim Ballo with Earthjustice says the change would lead to massive energy savings and a cut in global warming pollution, and with Wisconsin's reliance on coal for electricity, that will lead to cleaner air, too.

"For all the electricity that you don't have to generate to use in air conditioners and heat pumps, that's less air pollution that's gonna be emitted by the power plants in Wisconsin, and less air pollution that you're gonna have to breathe."

While more efficient commercial air conditioners would be more costly up front, Ballo notes the electricity savings pay off down the road.

"According to the Department of Energy's own studies, these products would save the customers money in the long run. Even within just a few years, the energy savings would pay back the costs. Over the long term, there are several power plants that we're just not gonna have to build "

Congress may also step in on the issue. The current versions of the energy bills in both houses would require a boost in efficiency for commercial air conditioners. They'll take up those bills when they return to work in September.

Rob Ferrett/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - WI