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Winter Storm Avery takes lives, puts the brakes on commutes across the Northeast. Also on our Friday rundown: A first-of-its-kind report calls for policies to ease transitions of young people living in foster care. And "got gratitude" this holiday season? It could benefit your health.

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Easiest Carbon Reduction for Iowa? Efficiency

PHOTO: Higher energy-efficiency standards for major appliances, along with other efficiency policies, could help Iowa meet EPA carbon reduction standards, according to a new report. Photo credit: Federal Trade Commission.
PHOTO: Higher energy-efficiency standards for major appliances, along with other efficiency policies, could help Iowa meet EPA carbon reduction standards, according to a new report. Photo credit: Federal Trade Commission.
May 28, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa - The Environmental Protection Agency’s new regulations to require carbon-pollution controls at existing coal-fired power plants are expected in about a week. There have been warnings about costs that would be passed along to consumers, but a study from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy shows that efficiency could meet carbon-reduction targets.

Report author Sara Hayes cited additional benefits.

"In Iowa, the adoption of these solutions would result in 5,900 new jobs and an increase in gross state product of $220 million," she said. "This approach saves ratepayers $200 million."

According to the report, the numbers would be achieved by 2030 under a scenario of cutting carbon by 26 percent below 2012 levels.

Efficiency may be the easiest way for states to meet the EPA carbon-reduction plan. Efficiency policies include state energy savings targets, updating building codes, constructing combined heat and power facilities and adopting standards for major appliances.

"Energy efficiency is the ultimate resource," she said. "It's clean, reliable and cheap. The Environmental Protection Agency has the opportunity to improve air quality and our economy in one fell swoop."

Energy-efficient technologies in the EPA plan already have been tried and tested, she said, and many states already have adopted them in some form.

The ACEEE report is online at aceee.org.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - IA