For Climate Change, Pete Buttigieg missed commercial LED lighting, air conditioning optimization and other solutions


Posted on Monday 9th September 2019

Climate Change: On September 4, 2019, CNN ran seven hours of Climate Change Town Hall programming with ten of the Democratic Presidential Candidates, focused on the Climate Crisis. The intentions of the candidates are admirable, but their lack of knowledge on the details of cost-effective solutions is apparent based on their repeated focus on solar, wind, and electric cars over energy efficiency measures for commercial buildings. Saving electricity for existing buildings is much more cost-effective than trying to make electricity through renewable power. Key points not covered by the candidates included:

  • America uses 25% of the world’s energy with less than 5% of the population.
  • Buildings account for 40% of America's energy use.
  • Air Conditioning and Lighting typically use over half of a building’s energy (Over 25% each for AC and lighting)
  • The private sector has financing in place, so that building owners pay ZERO upfront and there is ZERO cost to taxpayers - a Win/Win with a cooler planet as a result.


Here is the “Score Card” from all 10 candidates and the 60,748 words in the combined transcripts from their CNN Climate Change Town Hall appearances:


  • Wind power references: 42
  • Solar power references: 37
  • Light bulbs (for homes) references: 16
  • Electric Cars references: 14


Here is what the candidates should have referenced, but failed to do so, given that they had long format segments vs the shorter debate “sound bites” time limits:


  • Commercial Lighting references: 0
  • Commercial Air Conditioning and/or HVAC references: 0
  • Indoor or Vertical Farming references: 0
  • Waste to Fuel (e.g. Hyrothermal Carbonization) references: 0


While some candidates spoke generally about building efficiency, they only scratched the surface rather than giving examples and reinforcing the fact that proven technology is at hand to take a massive bite out of American energy consumption and create millions of jobs along the way.


Here is key information on four cost-effective and proven clean technologies that the candidates and elected officials across the US need to know about to help guide America toward PRACTICAL sustainability and job creation:

#1: Climate Change Solution - Commercial Light-emitting Diode (LED) Lighting

Savings Potential: 50% or more energy savings over traditional lighting

Climate Change Highlights: Lighting is the “low hanging” fruit of energy savings, and it is typically the second largest consumer of electricity in buildings, accounting for over 20% of kilowatt use. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are proven to save over half of the operating cost and last more than five times as long as traditional lights. With over 3 billion square feet of federal real estate, the savings is over $1 billion per year, not to mention the other 87 billion square feet of private sector non-residential real estate.

Climate Change Return on Investment (ROI): Payback in 2 years or less

Climate Change Sample Applications: Hospitals, Hotels, Office Buildings, Data Centers, Shopping Malls, etc.

Website for more information: Made in USA LED Lighting + Sample LED Lighting Case Studies


#2: Climate Change Solution - Commercial Air Conditioning Optimization

Savings Potential: 15% to 40% energy savings for central cooling systems

Climate Change Highlights: Air Conditioning (AC) is typically the largest consumer of electricity in buildings, accounting for over 30% of kilowatt use. AC optimization focuses on “tuning” air conditioning systems through advanced algorithm, without changing any of the cooling equipment, without impacting thermostat settings, and without generating any downtime or upfront costs.

Climate Change Return on Investment (ROI): Payback in 2 years or less

Climate Change Sample Applications: Hospitals, Hotels, Office Buildings, Data Centers, Shopping Malls, etc.

Website for more information: Air Conditioning Optimization (with Download to One Page Data Sheet)

Sample market traction: Energy Saving AC Case Studies


#3: Climate Change Solution - Indoor Farming - Controlled Environment Agriculture

Savings Potential: 90% less water and 30% energy savings over traditional food production

Highlights: Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) “Indoor Farming” is now economically viable due to the efficiency of LED Grow Lights. Indoor Farming reduces transportation costs of moving vegetables from Farm to Table, increases health with pesticide-free production, and increases flavor and nutrition. Fresh local produce is the Future of Food.

Climate Change Return on Investment (ROI): Payback in 2 years or less

Climate Change Sample Applications: Conversion of vacant commercial and industrial properties as well as new greenhouse construction.

Website for more information: LED Grow Lights


Bonus:  K-12 Schools are increasingly focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education. Sample STEM Education - See the content for classroom programs starting on page #55 with sample curriculum.


#4: Waste to Fuel - Hydrothermal Carbonization

Savings Potential: The US could reduce 10% or more of its dependency on fossil fuels.

Climate Change Highlights: Hydrothermal Carbonization (HTC) cost-effectively converts bio waste, such as food and human waste, into electricity for buildings, fertilizer for agriculture, and hydrogen for next-generation transportation. The HTC reactors use heat (approx 200° C “pizza oven” heat at 400° F) and pressure (approx 20,000 pascals “scuba tank” pressure 3,000 lbs/sq in) to create hydrochar within an hour, while the earth has taken over 100 million years to create fossil fuels. The HTC reactors are approximately the size of 40 ft shipping containers.

Climate Change Return on Investment (ROI): Payback in 3 years or less

Climate Change Sample Applications: Municipalities, University Campuses, Office Parks, Shopping Malls, etc.

Website for more information: Waste to Fuel


Support Information

Here is the link to the presentation file from Charlie Szoradi, CEO of Independence LED Lighting and the Energy Intelligence Center. He was invited by the Council of State Governments (CSG) to speak at the Easter Regional Conference on July 29, 2019. Contact: Charlie Szoradi 610-551-5224 or


Presentation slide show:


The presentation was specifically for CSG’s Energy and Environment Committee, and here is the link to the 12 minute video of the presentation:


CNN Climate Change Town Hall – Transcripts

For your convenience here is the beginning of the transcript, and click here for the full Climate Change transcripts for all 10 Democratic Presidential Candidates, who participated in the CNN Climate Change Town Hall



Climate Crisis Town Hall with Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-South Bend, IN), Presidential Candidate. Aired 10-10:40p ET

Aired September 4, 2019 - 22:00   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right. One night, 10 top Democratic candidates answering question from Democratic and independent voters about one urgent issue -- the climate crisis.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Chris Cuomo. Now, I want to show you something that just gives you the status of the crisis. Look behind me. On one side, this is a picture of an actual wildfire burning right now. This is just outside Los Angeles, La Cresta, California, OK? So that's one type of situation that we're seeing more and more of that scientists say is indicative of climate change.

Now, on the East Coast, as you all know, we're dealing with Hurricane Dorian. And again, scientists tell us consistently that we are seeing more intense storms, more frequently, that are more complicated by the effects of climate change. These are both happening right now on our watch. Question is, what will be done about it?

Scientists are telling us we're seeing the consequences of the climate crisis. OK? They also say that we could cross a massive tipping point. If what? If the world warms more than 1.5 degrees Celsius -- it's just about three degrees Fahrenheit.

Now, we've already warmed up the planet one degree Celsius since the industrial revolution. So we're more than halfway there. Young people are worried about a livable future for the planet. It's not some abstract idea for them. We have three 2020 candidates left here to talk about this urgent issue. We have former Congressman Beto O'Rourke. We have Senator Cory Booker there ahead.

Joining us right now, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Welcome, Mr. Mayor.



CUOMO: All right. Let's get right to the questions. Let's bring in Dr. Linda Rudolph. All right? She's from Oakland, California. She's the director of the Center for Climate Change and Health at the Public Health Institute. Her family home was destroyed in Sonoma wildfires. We were just showing one burning right now outside Los Angeles. So, Doctor, sorry for your loss. Thank you for participating tonight.

What's your question?

QUESTION: Good evening. Major health organizations representing millions of doctors, nurses, and health professionals have declared that climate change is a health emergency. Under your leadership, South Bend does not yet have a climate action plan. Given that your own city has been slow to act, how can I and other health professionals be confident that you will address the climate health emergency with the urgency it requires? And how will you do so?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, first of all, I'm so sorry about what happened to your home. And we are under way on a climate action plan. We were one of the cities that committed joining with cities around the world to live up to the Paris commitments, even if the national governments are failing to do it. And right now we have built out the capacity to assess what's happening with greenhouse gases in our city and act on it.

We have undertaken energy savings contracts to make our buildings more energy efficient, set up electric vehicle charging points so that we're modelling what needs to happen with the future of transportation. And we're doing it because we're living in a country where our national government has failed.

And cities around the world, beginning with the C-40 that New York right here was one of the first members of back in 2007, have said we can't even wait for the national governments to catch up.

Now, having said all that, the reality is, cities can't do it alone. This is going to require action at every level of government and beyond government. We are only going to be able to tackle the climate issue when this amounts to a major national project that enlists the abilities of the public sector, the private sector, the academic sector, and folks who up until now have often been made to feel like they're part of the problem, like rural America. We have to stand tall and believe that this is something all of us have pride in and can get done or it's not going to happen.

You know, all night, I've been catching at least some of the other sessions that have gone on. And all of us are basically using the same language. We're talking about existential threat. We're talking about urgency. We're competing over which one of our targets is more accurate. But the fundamental question is, how are we actually going to get it done?

Because we have been having this same conversation for years. I think in order for that to happen, we have to actually unify the country around this project. And that means bringing people to the table who haven't felt that they have been part of the process.

I mean, this is the hardest thing we will have done certainly in my lifetime as a country. This is on par with winning World War II, perhaps even more challenging than that. Does anybody really think we're going to meet that goal if between now and 2050 we are still at each other's throats? It's not going to happen. We've got to figure out a way to rally, and that means everybody, from cities to farms to the federal government to the international community. I'm prepared to lead us to get that done.

CUOMO: Quick question, because we go back to the audience, you have a new proposal out about what you'd do with climate. You talk about how municipalities can work using the Defense Department. You talk about how farmers can deal with it. Not as much attention paid, at least in the writing, to what you'd do to those who produce the fossil fuels and are making the money off it.

We just listened to Senator Warren. That is obviously a big part of her focus on this is going after the big companies. Is that part of your prospect also? And if so, how?

BUTTIGIEG: Absolutely. First of all, it's one of the reasons why I've proposed that we assess a carbon tax. And I know you're not supposed to use the T word when you're in politics, but we might as well call this what it is. There is a harm being done, and in the same way that we have taxed cigarettes, we're going to have to tax carbon.

Now, the difference with my plan is that I propose that we rebate all of the revenue we collect right back out to the American people on a progressive basis, so that low- and middle-income Americans are made more than whole.

We're going to have to spend a lot of federal money in order to deal with the crisis, but I'm proposing that we get that from other sources, because we need to make sure that the carbon tax is something whose incidence is on the polluters, not on the American people, especially lower-income people who are already suffering so much and climate change is only going to make it harder.

CUOMO: All right, let's take a question from the audience. We have Amanda Freund. She's from East -- East Canaan, Connecticut -- sorry about that -- she works on her family's dairy farm. She also sells biodegradable pots made from cow manure. Flower pots, not like pots you cook in. That would be a terrible idea.



More: Click here for the full Climate Change transcripts for all 10 Democratic Presidential Candidates, who participated in the CNN Climate Change Town Hall

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