For Climate Change, Beto O'Rourke 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 Beto O'Rourke (D), Presidential Candidate. Aired 10:40-11:20p ET

Aired September 4, 2019 - 22:40   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST: And welcome back everyone to this unprecedented night here on CNN. I'm Don Lemon and thank you so much for joining us or staying with us. We've heard from eight candidates on this stage and we have two Democratic presidential candidates left answering voters questions about the climate emergency.

You know, scientists tell us that we are seeing the consequences of the climate crisis now, but that we'll be -- we'll cross a massive tipping point if the world warms more than 1.5 degrees Celsius or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. We've already warmed up the planet by one degree since the industrial revolution, so we're more than halfway there already. And right now, as you know, the Carolinas are bracing for Hurricane Dorian and it's potentially life threatening storm surge.

For the very latest now, let's go to the CNN Weather Center with CNN's Jennifer Gray. Jennifer.

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Don, I wouldn't be surprised if this storm, it reaches Category 3 status once again. It's only one mile per hour shy of that as far as the winds go, with 110 mile per hour winds. It has been intensifying a little bit throughout the late afternoon and evening hours. Gusts of 130. It's about 120, 130 miles south of Charleston right now and it is heading in a northerly direction.

Now, South Carolina, North Carolina, they will get the brunt of it, especially places like Charleston that can't handle a lot of water being pushed in. We could see near record flooding across there as far as tides go. You can see the center of the storm right there, the eye is expanding very, very wide. We're also going to get storm surge all up and down the Carolina coast, including North Carolina as this could make a potential landfall on South Carolina or North Carolina in the next day or so. Don.

LEMON: Jennifer Gray, thank you very much for that.

You know, scientists have partly blamed human-induced climate change for the intensity of these storms that are hitting our coastal states. Which brings me now to our next candidate. So everyone, please welcome former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke.

Welcome, Congressman.

BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you for having me on. Thank you.

LEMON: Good to see you.

O'ROURKE: Good to see you as well.

LEMON: Thank you so much.

O'ROURKE: Thank you all.

LEMON: Right off --

O'ROURKE: Thank you all. Gracias.

LEMON: The first thing that you would do to deal with this climate crisis.

O'ROURKE: Day one, re-enter the Paris Climate Agreement. On that same day, make sure that we lead the world in going well beyond the Paris Climate Agreement. Ensure that we regulate and enforce reduced greenhouse gas emissions from methane, and then get to net zero on public lands by ensuring we have no new oil and gas leases on federally protected lands and offshore areas that are now being drilled today. Those three steps are a great place to start and a good pace to set. And then we follow that up by making sure that we have legally enforceable standards every single year over which no polluter can emit. We make sure that we get to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, earlier if we can, halfway there by 2030. And then we protect the most vulnerable communities, those who are on the front lines of climate change and pollution, making sure that we lift them up, protect their populations and ensure that there's environmental justice in this country.

LEMON: Speaking of lifting up, I should've worn taller shoes. My goodness.


LEMON: All right, Congressman, let's get started. I wanted to get things started with Priya Subberwal. Priya's from Frisco, Colorado. She's a student at New York University majoring in environmental studies and she currently supports Elizabeth Warren. Priya, what's your question?

O'ROURKE: Hey, Priya.

PRIYA SUBBERWAL, AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hi. So your climate proposal is unclear as to whether or not you support a carbon tax. What deters you from a carbon tax or from a cap and trade system? And if you are unwilling, what standards would you alternatively put in place to create a legally enforceable standard for emissions?

O'ROURKE: So we should certainly price carbon. I think the best possible path to do that is through a cap and trade system. There would be allowances granted or sold to polluters, not just in the energy sector but in transportation as well as our industrial sector - cement, steel, the chemicals that we produce.

There would be a set number of allowances that would decrease every single year. Because the clock is running, we have a little more than 10 years left. We don't have time to experiment. So I think that is the best possible path to ensure that there's a price for carbon and pollution in our economy. Set the standard here and then lead the globe; convene the other powers of the planet to make sure that they're doing their part as well. Thanks for the question.

LEMON: Just to be clear, do you support a carbon tax? Yes or no?

O'ROURKE: No. I think that a cap and trade is the best possible path. I think that's the best way to send the pricing signal to ensure that there is a legally enforceable limit. And so that's the path that I'm going to choose.


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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