“Daring to Commit” was the theme of the 18th annual Energy Efficiency Forum, held June 13 in Washington, D.C.

Intended to raise awareness of the technical, economic, and political solutions available to improve energy efficiency, the event, co-sponsored by the U.S. Energy Association and Johnson Controls, drew 250 attendees.

The forum focused on both the environmental and economic impacts of energy conservation.

“It's truly encouraging to see that so many businesses and industries have moved beyond discussions about the science and politics of energy consumption and its impact on both the climate and the economy,” Barry Worthington, executive director of the U.S. Energy Association, said. “We are now at a place where everyone should be marching in lockstep toward implementing measures that not only reduce our impact on the environment, but also enhance sustainability at every level of business.”

The role of energy efficiency in achieving greater energy independence and energy security was discussed by several of the forum's speakers.

“The biggest source of new energy is the energy we're wasting,” keynote speaker Samuel W. Bodman, U.S. secretary of energy, said.

Other speakers included James E. Rogers, president and chief executive officer of Duke Energy; Omar Siddiqui, chief strategist, energy efficiency, for the Electric Power Research Institute; and Klaus Scharioth, German ambassador to the United States.

2007 Energy Leadership Awards were presented to U.S. Sens. Jeff Bingaman and Pete Domenici of New Mexico for their efforts in promoting energy awareness and efficiency. Also honored were winners of the Igniting Creative Energy challenge, an educational competition sponsored by Johnson Controls.

Other highlights of the forum included the unveiling of the Environmental Protection Agency's new national ad campaign and the signing of a “Declaration of Energy Independence” by representatives of Independence Station, a 57,000-sq-ft mixed-use building in Independence, Ore., that is powered primarily by vegetable oil and the sun.

Prior to the forum, on June 12, Johnson Controls sponsored a special session titled “A Step-by-Step Guide to Successful On-Site Renewable Energy.” Andy Karsner, assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy for the U.S. Department of Energy, delivered the keynote address.